Monday, August 10, 2009

the high line

This weekend, along with what seemed like the rest of New York, we decided to go and see what all the fuss over the High Line has been about. For those of you who aren't from New York and don't know about the High Line, it's a park that was built from an old, pre-existing elevated train track above 10th and 11th Avenues on the west side of Manhattan. The first part of the park, which runs from Gansevoort to 20th Street, is finally complete and open to visitors, and the second section, from 20th to 30th Street, is supposed to open in 2010. The High Line carried freight from the 1930s until 1980, pretty much just sitting and gathering dust (and lots of plants from seeds that found their way up there) until recently. What's so cool about the High Line is that much of the original train tracks and plants that were found up there after years of neglect were incorporated into the design of the park. According to the High Line website:
The design team, led by landscape architects James Corner Field Operations with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, has sought to capture the quiet, contemplative nature of the High Line after the trains stopped running, creating a world apart from the bustling streets of Manhattan. Concrete is cast in long, textured planks, forming a smooth, linear, virtually seamless walking surface. Tapered into surrounding naturalistic plantings, they will allow plant life to push up through the seams. Fixed and movable seating, an integrated LED lighting system, and other special features will complete the High Line's signature landscape, creating a one-of-a-kind public space 30 feet above the ground.
Here are some pictures from our visit:

a viewing platform placed directly over 10th Avenue, letting visitors sit and watch the traffic go by below

train tracks are visible in many places along the park

The River that Flows Both Ways, by Spencer Finch

This art installation is incredible. An attempt to capture the varied reflective conditions of the Hudson River, it consists of 700 laminated glass panels with a color film interlayer, and is experienced differently depending on the light levels and atmospheric conditions of the site. This picture really doesn't capture how beautiful this piece actually is, but you can see, even from this crappy image, how many different shades of color are represented in this work.

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