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Thomas Smarr
Photo by Eddie CrimminsAlthough the snow has finally begun to melt, continued bitterly cold temperatures may delay the emergence of spring blooms. Photo by Eddie Crimmins

We typically can predict that winters will be cold and summers will be warm, but the more subtle dynamics of weather are much harder to foresee. This winter we have experienced a constant pattern of lasting, significant cold temperatures along with repeated snowfalls that kept piling up throughout late January into late February. It appears we are finally getting through the most severe part of this tough winter, but it will leave a lasting effect on our landscape.

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.

Amelia Krales
Photo by Timothy SchenckHigh Line staff worked tirelessly early this week to remove snow from the park entrance at West 14th Street. Photo by Timothy Schenck

This winter has had its share of snow, and it looks like we may be seeing more before spring's arrival. After a storm, staff and volunteers arrive early to clear paths so visitors can safely enjoy a stroll through the magical winter scenery. (Learn more about how you can help us remove snow.)

We use several different methods for snow removal. The tools in our arsenal include power brooms, snow-throwers and – of course – old-fashioned shovels, however, we avoid utilizing rock salt and chemical ice-melt because of the damage these products cause to our plants.

We're incredibly grateful to the staff and volunteers who remove dangerous ice and snow from our park. Clearing the stairs is a particularly time-consuming task, as the steps are shoveled completely by hand. And keeping the walkways free of ice is a particularly difficult job because the High Line is exposed, much like a bridge, making surface temperatures drop quickly.

The safety of our visitors is our top priority. We block off sections of walkway that have become slippery, and – as a last resort – close areas of the park when walking has become dangerous. If you are ever wondering what conditions are like in the park, follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

Photo by Timothy SchenckHigh Line staff member utilizes a power broom to push heavy, accumulated snow off the walkway near the 10th Avenue Square. Photo by Timothy Schenck

With wet snow, damage to the plants is a concern. Our gardeners work to minimize the negative impact that heavy snow and ice have on the trees, grasses, and perennials. To avoid breakage of woody plants, gardeners will gently shake trees or knock heavy snow off of tree limbs. Snow banks can flatten perennials, although "sleeping" perennials are actually protected by the insulation offered by snow cover. Overall, the plants on the High Line are hearty and can withstand tricky weather.

Photo by Timothy SchenckThe branches of the High Line's Eastern red cedar trees, Juniperus virginiana, bend under the weight of heavy snow. Photo by Timothy Schenck

Have an interest in being in the outdoors, meeting your neighbors, and having fun with park staff while getting a great workout? Come join us as a snow volunteer! Drop by after a winter storm or sign up to receive notifications when we put out a call for extra hands.

Erika Harvey
A snowman greets High Line visitors in 2011. Photo by Karen Blumberg

As we speak, snow is blanketing New York City.

High Line Maintenance and Operations staff are readying their shovels, snow brooms, and ice picks for the estimated 10–14 inches of snow that the city will be receiving in the next 24 hours. Tomorrow, while most of us are still sleeping, they will begin clearing the High Line's pathway and stairs in order to open the park to the public as soon as possible. For the first time, our staff will be joined by dedicated Snow Volunteers who will help us complete this huge task.

While snow means more work at the High Line, it also means more fun! With enough accumulation anticipated, we’ll be holding a High Line Snow Sculpt-Off tomorrow from 2:30 – 4:00 PM. Our photo of the week this week is one of our favorites from our last Snow Sculpt-Off in 2011, by High Line Photographer Karen Blumberg, showing a snowman greeting High Line visitors. Your imagination is the limit during the Snow Sculpt-Off, when adults and families compete to create snow masterpieces.

We hope you’ll join us!

Learn more about the High Line Snow Sculpt-Off.

Erika Harvey
A Northern Mockingbird discovers delicious berries on the High Line’s winter landscape. Photo by Matt MacGillivray

Erika Harvey
Bundle up and get ready for some wintertime exercise. Join our team of snow volunteers. Photo by Marcin Wichary

It's all hands on deck when snow arrives in New York City, and we'd love your help!

Kate Lindquist
The Standard, High Line's ice skating rink is now open. Image by Reza Courtesy The Standard, High Line

Our friends at The Standard, High Line have brought back what has quickly become a favorite winter tradition: the ice skating rink below the park!

Erika Harvey
Family Feather Flurry brought together nearly 40 children and their caregivers for a winter scavenger hunt on the High Line, followed by crafts and storytelling at Posman Books.

On Sunday, February 5, children and caregivers joined us for the Family Feather Flurry, a High Line Kids scavenger hunt that explored the High Line’s winter landscape from a bird’s perspective. Following clues about the High Line’s unique plants and flowers, families made their way toward West 16th Street. From there everyone headed to the program’s next stop, Posman Books in Chelsea Market, to decorate their bird puppets and listen to stories.

Enjoy photos from the event and download the High Line scavenger hunt for your kids after the jump.

Erika Harvey

What is going on in this video?

You might think the light show is part of a public art installation or ambiance for a dance party, but this is what it looks like in the moments before a black-out on the High Line.

Managing one mile of park built on an elevated freight rail line presents unique operational challenges. Like any building in the city, the High Line has millions of dollars worth of mechanical systems – lighting and electrical infrastructure, plumbing and irrigation, and more – and it’s all connected to the city’s utility lines. When the power supply is cut nearby, it can affect the lighting system at the High Line.

Erika Harvey
High Line Gardener Kaspar Wittlinger leads a tool tune-up session for High Line Gardeners and High Line Volunteers. Here he shows the group the proper technique for sharpening a pair of pruning shears.

At this time of year, we get this question all the time: “What do the gardeners do in the winter?”

There is noticeably less activity in the planting beds on the High Line in the winter, but our gardeners are just as busy. They take advantage of the lull in the growing season to plan and prepare for the year to come, and they are also called into action to help ensure the park is safe for the public after snow and ice storms. Here’s a little insight into what the High Line Gardeners are up to in the colder months of the year.

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