By Julie Moir Messervy
On a cold and rainy mid-November morning, I ascended the metal staircase at West 18th Street to take a stroll along the mile-long High Line. For anyone who doesn’t already know about this marvelous urban landscape in the sky, you must plan a visit whenever you’re in New York City. As my colleague Charles Birnbaum writes, this former elevated railway on Manhattan’s West Side has become “an international urban design sensation.” Now that Phase 2 is complete, the whole elevated garden stretches high above the city, from Gansevoort to 30th Street.
And what a garden it is! Designed by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations and architects Diller, Scofidio & Renfro, the park is a study in continuity and change, with the curving linearity of the steel tracks and long planks of concrete providing the continuity. Native plantings provide a constantly changing series of tableaux, including wildflower meadows, copses, open lawn, and shrub and grasslands, so ably choreographed by Piet Oudolf of Holland. Buildings above and adjacent, the Hudson River beyond, cabs and trucks below, and people everywhere provide a dynamic backdrop to this wonderfully vibrant yet contemplative setting. Have a look at my photos below, and then plan on visiting; no matter the season, it’s worth it.