Photography

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Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Steven SeveringhausWisps of Mexican feather grass gently wave in the spring breeze. GIF by Steven Severinghaus
 

If you’ve visited the High Line recently, you’ve probably noticed that the once-tall dried grasses that characterize the park’s winter landscape have been trimmed back to the ground. This annual “haircut” for the park is called Spring Cutback and the tremendous task takes High Line Gardeners and volunteers four weeks to complete.

Not all of the High Line’s plants are trimmed back during Spring Cutback. The park’s woody perennials, shrubs, and trees may be pruned at other times of year, but they are not trimmed back aggressively as the park’s grasses are. One species of grass that does not get cut back at all is Mexican feather grass, Nassella tenuissima. This slow-growing perennial is left intact making it the only dried grass you’ll see on the High Line right now.

This entrancing GIF by High Line Photographer Steven Severinghaus captures the beauty of Mexican feather grass at this time of year. The dense bunches of dried thread-like blades look almost like hair as they wave in even the slightest breeze. In the background, it’s possible to see the trimmed-back stumps of other varieties of grass. Soon Mexican feather grass – and its wild grass brethren at the High Line – will transition to shades of vivid spring green.

Learn about more plants of interest by viewing our monthly bloom lists.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Mike TschappatThis GIF shows the Northern Spur Preserve, on the High Line at West 16th Street, at three different times during the late winter and early spring seasons. Photos by Melissa Mansur
 

It’s difficult to believe that Spring Cutback is nearly finished! Later this week High Line Gardeners and volunteers will wrap this nearly four-week endeavor.

The first spring bulbs and green shoots are tentatively breaking the soil and soaking up every available drop of sunshine. As the cold weather starts to subside – and we promise it will – the High Line’s landscape will transform into full-blown spring glory.

This GIF, comprised of photos by High Line Photographer Melissa Mansur, allows us to look into the increasingly green future of the Northern Spur Preserve. This small offshoot, or “spur,” on the High Line once connected the active freight railway with the Merchants Refrigerating Company, a massive cold storage facility. Now, like the rest of the High Line, the Northern Spur Preserve is home to a wide variety of plants. The varieties chosen for this section of the park are especially meant to evoke the wild landscape that took over the High Line after the trains stopped running. You’ll find a variety of asters, sedges, catmint, and phlox.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Steven Severinghaus A male cardinal perches atop one of the High Line’s birch trees. Photo by Steven Severinghaus

This week High Line Gardeners and volunteers continued to work to trim back dried grasses along the High Line and visitors rejoiced at every new colorful crocus that popped up. And it turns out that it’s not just our planting beds that are getting a dose of color! We loved this bright cheery male cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, that High Line Photographer Steven Severinghaus spotted earlier this week. The spring season marks the beginning of their breeding season, so soon you may see them defending their territories and building nests in wooded areas or other areas of dense foliage.

Steven has an amazing talent for documenting the beautiful and subtle details of the park’s ecology that so many of us miss. See his Flickr photostream for even more examples of flora and fauna from around New York City.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Steven SeveringhausSteven Claydon’s sculpture, UNLIMITEDS & LIMITERS, is obscured by the dried grasses of the High Line’s winter landscape. Photo by Steven Severinghaus

From the lifelike Human Statue (Jessie) to the humorous Nose Job to the perplexing Number One (from the series Heroes on the Run), the temporary High Line Art installation Busted brought together an engaging and surprising collection of sculptures by ten local and international artists. Drawing its inspiration from the dedicatory monuments of ancient Rome, this playful collection of sculptures toys with the tradition of urban landmarks in unexpected ways.

It’s difficult to believe that Busted’s tenure is coming to a close. Over the past year, to the delight of visitors and staff members alike, the landscape has grown up around the Busted artworks and changed over the seasons. Even the surfaces and the personalities of the artworks have transmuted over the months of sunshine, rain, and snow. No matter what season, Busted is a great reminder of the unique experience of a four-season “sculpture garden” that the High Line offers.

Stop by before the beginning of April to see Busted one last time. Don't despair its departure though, we also have a new group exhibition to look forward to this spring: Archeo.

Follow @highlineartnyc on Instagram for more photos of Busted.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photos by Melissa MansurThis GIF shows the High Line at West 20th Street at three points during the spring season: before Spring Cutback, after Spring Cutback, and later in spring as new growth takes over the planting beds. Photos by Melissa Mansur
 

After the winter that we’ve had, tomorrow’s 50° F (or 10° C) will feel almost balmy. Regardless of the temperature, the spirit of spring has already begun to infuse the city and our staff with fond thoughts of the season ahead. Behind the scenes here, High Line Gardeners are prepping their buckets, shears, and wheelbarrows for the beginning of our largest horticultural task of the year, Spring Cutback, which kicks off next week.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Phil VachonVerdant tufts of grass fight their way through a melting layer of snow at the 23rd Street Lawn. Photo by Phil Vachon
 

This inspiring image by High Line Photographer Phil Vachon offers a good reminder – especially on cold days like today – of the pleasures of the warmer season ahead. By summer, the park’s 23rd Street Lawn will be carpeted with lush grass and playing host to High Line Kids programs, leisurely picnics, first dates, and even urban sunbathers.

While the grass is most certainly greener on the other side of winter, this time of slow transition offers emerging hints and signs of the coming season. At the High Line, excitement is building among our gardeners and volunteers for Spring Cutback, and around the city, residents dream of picnics and strolls to be enjoyed. Spring is just around the corner (we promise)!

Learn more about how winter affects the High Line’s plants in a recent post by Director of Horticulture, Thomas Smarr.

Author: 
Clay Grable
Photo by Friends of the High LineMichael Vitiello examines a book of old West Side Line (a.k.a. the High Line) advertisements in the Williamson Library. Photo by Friends of the High Line
 

On the wall of Michael Vitiello’s office, hidden in the upper levels of Grand Central Terminal, hangs a bronzed fedora. It belonged to Paul "Tick Tock" Kugler, the last clock master of Grand Central, who wore it to work there every day of his 47-year career. Michael, Grand Central's supervisor of building maintenance, is the last person Tick Tock trained to service the station’s old self-winding clocks before he retired at age 70. The sole survivor of these “master clocks” also hangs in Michael’s office, a space that feels less like a workplace than a peek into an era that has slipped away.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Mike TschappatAn American robin caught on camera mid-feast, on the High Line at West 23rd Street. Photo by Mike Tschappat
 

This past week, visitors were treated to a surprising sight: a large flock of robins had descended upon the Eastern red cedar trees on the High Line, bouncing back and forth between the branches and feasting on the trees’ bright blue berries. At times, a nearby mockingbird could be seen attempting to defend his buffet of berries, with little luck.

Author: 
Amelia Krales
Photo by Gene DalyHigh Line Photographer Gene Daly captured this image of a side street off of our park.
 

Photographer Gene Daly has a talent for photographing quiet city moments. His black-and-white images catch the subtle layers and rich textures of street scenes. In this photograph, he turns the usually unattractive netting of construction scaffolding into a frame, directing his viewer's attention to a Chelsea street in soft focus.

The High Line is an excellent perch from which to view the city. At 30 feet above the street, our park allows visitors to take in Manhattan's West Side from a unique vantage point. On your next visit, why not spend a moment enjoying the beauty of the quieter side streets from our park in the sky?

Author: 
Erika Harvey
 

In celebration of the High Line Calendar, we’re exploring each month’s featured image to bring you more of the behind-the-scenes details. Visit the web shop to pick up your own copy – they’re on sale now for 50% off!

In this month’s serene image by photographer Cristina Macaya, dried spindly stalks and seed heads of coneflowers reach toward the winter sky, the memory of summer long behind them. In a season when many of us long for the vivid colors and lush foliage of summer, this photo exemplifies why we should take a closer look at natural beauty of the winter garden and appreciate this season in a new light. After all, that is what High Line planting designer Piet Oudolf intended.

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