12 June, 2013

The High Line

By LuAnne Silvia, ASID
When Christina and I were in New York for Blogfest a few weeks ago we had two afternoons of free time which with the endless variety of things to do was a challenge in figuring out how to spend them. Our first afternoon in the city we were anxious to check out a furniture design show.  The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is aisle after aisle of inspiring product and displays and a lot of square footage to cover. We opted for a smaller show we had heard about through one of our Minneapolis based vendors, Jee and Randall of Trove called Wanted Design. So now with one afternoon of unscheduled unplanned time to explore the question remained, what to do? One suggestion repeatedly presented itself from a variety of sources: a friendly and informative taxi driver, fellow Blogfest attendees, native New Yorkers. We decided this was our answer, The High Line! What we knew about it sounded intriguing enough, an old rail road line elevated above the city streets that was transformed into a landscaped walking trail. What we found and what we learned about it was simply inspiring. We climbed the steps and found an interesting perspective with awesome vantage points and a contrast in experience to the city streets below. We started walking that afternoon from our hotel Yotel near Times Square and walked to the Brooklyn Bridge and Battery Park. If this immediately paints a picture you have a good understanding of the distance we walked! If not I will just say that it was a healthy hike to accomplish in a short amount of time.  By the time we reached the entrance to the High Line we weren't as enthusiastic about walking as when we set out. The artful pathways and thoughtful plantings were so beautiful however we found renewed energy. The tapered concrete planks that grew out of the new trail captured the spirit of growth and repurpose from a slice of history. The park benches seamlessly grew out of the trail too, and the mix of wood and metal mimicked the rail trestles materials. Every part of the park referenced the history and embraced the future. The High Line was busy with happy activity. We were amazed to discover the idea was born from a shared thought by two strangers who met at a community board meeting. Inspiring!
Every detail was thought out to manipulate your senses and create a unique experience. Here are some of our photos from our walk on the High Line

The southern terminus of the High Line, the Gansevoort Plaza.

The Sundeck features spectacular river views and Chelsea Market Passage, where the High Line passes through the former Nabisco bakery.

Seating Steps and West Twenty-third Street Lawn.