How many times have I said that I love New York City parks? Even as the MTA struggles to keep service running and reliable, the city continues to shell out for the most beautiful and well-done green spaces. I have no problem with that. Really, what better way to use taxpayer money? (Rhetorical question, let’s not do a political debate here.)
Anyway, case in point: The Highline, a new park that combines an old railroad bed, native plants, and a highly developed post-industrial aesthetic for amazing results. I’ve been there twice, and was hugely impressed with the landscaping, design, and even the art installation at the end. And it’s not even done yet!
The new section, like the existing park, will feature open joints in the concrete to encourage grass to grow in the cracks. At one point in the extension, the concrete will be stripped away to reveal the steel girders supporting the trestle. Greenery along the path will feature mainly plants that grow naturally in Manhattan — it’s hard to call anything in the concrete jungle “native” — but they’ll be interspersed with other flora so that something will be in bloom during the whole growing season.
At one point, the trail will ascend above the rail line into the canopy of sumac trees. In the shade cast by the overhead walkway will go plants that grow naturally in the shade of the City’s skyscrapers. The extension will also feature its own version of Central Park’s Ramble, a stretch of dense trees and shrubs called the Chelsea Thicket. (I foresee lots of native Chelsea wildlife activity behind these trees in that other great New York tradition.)
Also forthcoming are a lounging lawn, a sitting area framed with an empty billboard frame and a 30th Street entrance.
Cue “I love New York” music.