Sunday, 22 November 2015

More of the High Line

So much of New York is overwhelming in terms of scale, noise and greyness.

The High Line addresses some of these issues and in doing so has had many effects on the surrounding area.

Not only providing a green and pleasant island in a sea of skyscrapers it has encouraged developers to re-purpose empty commercial buildings into residential properties. 

Any flats or apartments with a view of the Line are now very "des res". 

The flat dwellers themselves have "greened up" their own outside spaces which contrast sharply against the high rise backdrop. 

I loved the murals (or graffiti depending on your point of view) on surrounding buildings.

A rainbow of colours.

And anything which makes people smile has to be good.            

Another blast from the past but how lovely is this artwork. 


           And into the space age.

The way the whole of this linear space has been treated, retaining the historical link by clever division, use of materials and plants is brilliant.

Designated areas, secluded or mass seating just flow from one section to another. Genius.

The cafe area and local art market in a tunnel through one of the buildings.
There's a tangible buzz and an excited feel all along the Line.

But it's the trees, shrubs and plants which bring it all to life. 
They embellish and anchor the design with vibrancy, form, texture and colour and make it a "must visit" place.

So much of the High Line is simply magic. 

No self respecting tourist can ever claim to have seen New York without visiting here. 

It will stay in my heart for a long long time.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The High Line

Another New York stop was the High Line.

This is something I've wanted to see for ages. 
The fact that it was saved from demolition and turned into a hugely popular and publicly accessible facility is nothing short of amazing.
Probably the most unique above ground level park anywhere.

It's a redundant elevated freight line running between Gansevoort Street and 30th Street and has become, for me, one of New York's icons.

Raised section over 20th Street

Strange our taxi driver neither knew of it nor could he find it despite our precise directions!  
It stands around 30 feet above street level, is green, has trees and plants growing on it, with people walking and jogging along. 
Difficult to spot really!! 
Better believe the stories about NY taxi drivers!

The undeveloped section facing the River Hudson

 It's clearly visible from state highway 9A which runs parallel with the River Hudson, passes the Twin Towers memorial and leads to Battery Park. 
An interesting and lengthy journey!!

It's lush and dramatic and makes frequent nods to its rail heritage whilst incorporating art works, a market, drink and eateries, view points, an abundance of seating, a children's adventure area and an interactive Lego build. Wow!! All that and free access.

Look at the amount of detail in the loungers. 
The construction is reminiscent of the freight cars and don't you just love the bogie wheels! 
Within this short stretch of track you can position them wherever you like. 
With comfort clearly guaranteed.

Exuberant naturalisitc planting with all year round interest is a strength and works fantastically well.

The clear and knowledgeable hand of Piet Oudolf can easily be detected with many of his signature plants, but  blended here with some native American species too.

I loved this so much I even joined "Friends of the Highline" and treated myself to a book outlining the design, plant selection and specifications plus technical constraints encountered.

Just a work of art in itself and my kind of bedtime reading!!

This deserves at least one more be warned!

Monday, 2 November 2015

From Old York to New York

I was recently lucky enough to have a trip to New York and an opportunity to visit a couple of gardens. 

In this first post, I want to share the delights of Paley Park.

Not what one would normally imagine a park to be but a very valuable public open space in overbuilt and overpowering midtown Manhattan. 

Almost at the 5th Avenue end of 53rd Street this is described as a pocket park and was designed and built in 1967. That it still exists and functions as a refuge from busy New York life is a testament to the success and ingenuity of the design.

The waterfall masks the traffic noise and urban hustle and bustle. 
The trees bring shade in summer and a more human scale to the buildings which surround it. 

The floorscape is interesting. 
From the street to the gates are modern flags. From then on in more traditional and timeless setts have been laid giving a feeling of longevity.

The park is essentially square, with a full time janitor/caretaker's hut on the left as you enter and a hugely popular cafe on the right. 

Meticulously clean, the space is inviting, calming and just wonderful.

Predominantly the colours are green or white.
Green, which is so restful on the eye and white, for a touch of brightness.

 Pots, planted to reflect the seasons provide additional splashes of colour and the white metal seats give an extra airy spacious feel to the space. 
And real birds!

Severe neck cricks from looking up to try and see the sky!  
What the photos cannot convey is the peaceful and tranquil feeling of this space. 

This is simply one of the best designed, most exquisite spaces I have ever visited. And tea (or coffee) on hand whenever you want it!!