Before we even start talking about the High Line, I just have to record my total admiration for Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed an Airbus 320 on the Hudson River (above), in which all 155 passengers and crew survived with only minor injuries. It was an astonishing feat and, strolling along the High Line looking out over the Hudson and watching the helicopters buzzing about, reminded me of the film and brought home just what a feat it was. It was properly choppy out there! It’s not that wide! And lastly, it’s a RIVER! Hello! What a guy. If you haven’t seen the film (‘Sully’) just do.
I was in New York with my daughter to celebrate the end of her her degree. I’d taken both ‘kids’ to New York for their first time a few years ago and she absolutely loves it. She’s now been back twice without me and had, in fact, already walked the High Line. However, bearing in mind I was (largely!) paying, she indulged me with another visit. I have to say it’s been on my bucket list since I was first aware of it and it didn’t disappoint. Having said that, the planting – designed by Piet Oudolf – is deliberately low key, with the aim to maintain a sense of the ‘feel’ of the line when it was abandoned and overgrown, and therefore it’s not ‘flowery’ in a conventional sense.
However, despite this, I loved it. I loved the vision of ‘re-purposing’ an urban space (a disused railway) in such a bold way, and I loved the way it meandered above the city streets and brought greenery and beauty to what must previously have been an eyesore. I couldn’t get over how many thousands of people now had this amazing green ribbon to admire.
The first section opened in 2009 and many trees are now becoming really mature adding shade, scale with some fabulous specimens of Cercis and Cornus amongst others.
In places, the original railway lines have been left, and the planting is around and amongst them.
There was planting for sun,
planting for shade,
planting that matched buildings
and views of iconic landmarks.
Thanks High Line. Now I know what I want to do when I grow up!