I spent the last few days in New Jersey, with a quick day trip into NYC. It was a perfect East Coast winter day – sunny and cold – while back home in Seattle it rained. So it was with real joy that I hoofed it through some of the city’s greenspaces, ending up at The High Line.
I won’t go into detail about the site’s history and development of this city landscape, because the link will do that much better and with more authority than I can. But briefly, the High Line was the elevated freight train line used in the industrial district. After it was decommissioned, it was developed into a public greenspace. And an important note – it is entirely funded through private money. Its future won’t be affected by city budget cuts.
I was enchanted by the landscaping: it looks like an abandoned trainyard that’s being taken over by a re-emerging forest. Rather than being centered in a planting space, most of the trees and shrubs pop up right next to a rail or crossbeam; dead grasses remain in place, and you can see crocus and other spring flowers poking through. It’s obviously a designed space, but it’s not unnatural.
There are benches everywhere – some big enough for two people to sunbathe. There’s an outdoor movie projector across from a white-painted wall for showing movies in the summer; bleachers are built against the opposite wall. It’s an interesting, inviting, and unique landscape, allowing you see the city from a completely different perspective.