No trip to New York City is complete without walking the High Line. At least not for a plant geek and nature lover. I must say, I wasn’t really looking forward to visiting New York at first–the big city is generally not for me and I’d usually rather travel somewhere rural and quiet. But New York City turned out to win my heart because of urban green projects like this one. The High Line is a green space created along the 1.45-mile-long out-of-use railroad on the west side of Manhattan. It was designed to reference the self-seeded landscape that grew where rail cars no longer traveled.
While it looks effortless and wild, the plantings have been meticulously chosen for hardiness and sustainability. The mix of grasses, perennials, shrubs, and trees shows a textural and color variation that changes throughout the seasons.
I have looked at many photos of the High Line and did not see any that looked even remotely like what it looked like in late September when the early fall flowers were bursting open and most of everything else had gone to seed.
Vivienne Gucwa of NY Through the Lens was my tour guide for the day. Vivienne is a world-renowned photographer who lives in Manhattan and views the city as no one else does. She had the opportunity to photograph the final section of the High Line to be developed before its transformation. She beautifully captured the untouched railroad tracks as you can see here.
The railroad is now completely developed with plants and art, with a backdrop of both old and new buildings, some of which you may recognize.
The High Line is a natural and sustainable space that offsets the concrete jungle that dominates Manhattan. It functions as a green roof that provides habitat and food for urban wildlife.
as could a bunch of other critters like these bugs. Update: it’s always fun to discover new insects and thank you to everyone who helped me to identify these as milkweed bugs. They look very similar to boxelder bugs, but since these are on flower pods, my best guess is milkweed bugs.
The pathways recycle water by allowing it to drain into adjacent planting beds. I saw parts of the garden being watered, but the native plants are established and I would guess they don’t need much additional irrigation. Although there was a little splash fountain to cool off.
The High Line was just packed with people enjoying a coffee and some fresh air. It is clearly a very well used and well loved urban green space. I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to walk it.
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