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Ana Nicole Rodriguez
Guests smile for a photo as they enjoy bean and farro soup, freshly baked bread, and apples. Photo by Liz Ligon

Each year we host the Social Soup Experiment. This year, on October 19, the experiment brought a new wave of community members to eat heaping bowls of hearty bean and farro soup and join in conversation with their fellow diners.

Erika Harvey
EnlargeWest Side Improvement Project

In celebration of our new 18-month High Line Calendar, we’re exploring each month’s featured image to bring you more of the behind-the-scenes details.

In 1934, the initial stage of the West Side Improvement Project was completed: a shining new elevated viaduct was unveiled, connecting New York Central Railroad’s freight line with Manhattan’s West Side. This great engineering achievement eliminated 105 street-level railroad crossings and allowed manufacturing and food processing buildings flanking the railway to connect directly with its train cars to load and unload freight.

At the southern terminus of the High Line was a new St. John’s Park Freight Terminal at Spring Street. This massive new building allowed for 150 standing train cars, a leap ahead to support increasing manufacturing demands on the neighborhood’s businesses.

This month’s photo, at right, appeared in a 1934 promotional brochure detailing the West Side Improvement Project. Looking north along the new – and to-date unused – tracks of the High Line, anticipation was building for the debut of the new elevated railways. New York Central Railroad wrote about the project in their brochure:

Karla Osorio-Perez

We'd like to thank our High Line Volunteers for everything they did to support Friends of the High Line in 2013! Their help in the maintenance and programming of the park was crucial to keeping the High Line an extraordinary space for New Yorkers and City visitors. More than 200 volunteers aided the High Line in different capacities – guiding tours, tending the plants, welcoming park visitors at an information desk, cleaning design features, assisting High Line staff during public programs (on the park and in the neighborhood!),answering visitor questions, keeping records in the office, taking beautiful photographs, removing snow, and more. We couldn't have done so much this year without the help and dedication of this extraordinary group of people. Thank you!

Here is a compilation of photos and quotes from this incredible year. We hope you enjoy them.

Adam Dooling
Prairie dock on the High LinePrairie dock, Silphium terebinthinaceum, can reach 10 feet in height. Photo by Friends of the High Line

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

Erika Harvey
Two visitors enjoy a morning stroll despite the rain. Photo by Timothy Schenck

Photographer Timothy Schenck captured this vibrant autumn photo this morning as a light rain fell on the Chelsea neighborhood. Peering out from between the trees in the 10th Avenue Square, on the High Line at West 17th Street, Tim’s photo captures a north-facing view of the park’s fall foliage and our newest High Line Billboard at West 18th Street.

Contrasting with the overcast day, Thomas Demand’s new High Line Billboard installation, High Line, offers an unwavering bright patch of blue sky next to the park. This seemingly simple poetic image of an empty clothesline is actually a photograph of a meticulously constructed paper and cardboard replica of these everyday objects.

The large billboard format, which High Line Art Curator & Director Cecilia Alemani has used to augment the presence and impact of artworks, creates an interesting interaction with park goers and sparks the imagination. Clotheslines are both familiar and exotic – in the sense that they are recognizable, but don’t quite fit into our 21st-century city-dwelling existence. (Maybe a more Manhattan-centric version could involve quarter slots or a drop-off laundry reference?)

However you choose to interpret and enjoy the new High Line Billboard, it’s not a bad thing to be reminded of a summer breeze on an idyllic countryside, especially on rainy days like today. Stop by soon – this High Line Billboard will be on view until Monday, December 2, 2013.