High Line Blog

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Author: 
Andi Pettis
EnlargeGraceful Cattail. Photo by Gene Daly

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.

EnlargeSeeds of the graceful cattail. Photo by Friends of the High Line

Swaying over the children splashing in the water feature, across from the visitors reveling in the sun on the deck chairs, the graceful cattails are blooming on the High Line. A marginal wetland species native to Europe and Asia, Typha laxmanii is monoecious, meaning both male and female reproductive parts are present on each individual plant. There are actually two sets of tiny, densely packed flowers on each stem. The yellow-brown flowers near the top of the stem are the male flowers, one or two inches below these are the yellow-green female flowers. Once the pollen has fallen from the male flowers onto the female flowers, the male flowers shrivel and fall away from the stem. The female flowers are left to mature into the familiar fuzzy brown cattails, which are actually the seed-bearing fruits of the plant.

Typha laxmanii is known as the graceful cattail for its small stature and fine texture. Other species of cattail can grow up to 10 feet tall – very impressive for plants growing at the edge of a majestic lake, but rather unwieldy for the High Line’s small wetland planting or an urban garden. Typha laxmanii grows only to 3 feet, making it a graceful choice indeed for backyard ponds or rain gardens. These cattails will thrive in any sunny spot where the soil is regularly saturated and never quite dries out – perfect for the poorly drained areas that are usually a problem spot in gardens.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
Photo by Timothy SchenckIsabelle Cornaro's artwork stands amid a canopy of trees and cheery hedgenettle. Photo by Timothy Schenck

The presence of High Line Art’s group exhibition Archeo changes with the seasons. In summer, as lush foliage reaches up, encircles, and even obscures parts of the artworks, the visitor’s experience is almost that of a treasure hunt. Rather than seeing an artwork from a block away, sometimes a pause or slower walking pace is necessary to notice a piece peeking out from the back of a planting bed.

The three sculptures of God Box (column) by French artist Isabelle Cornaro – one of which is pictured here – are both alien and familiar, and both at home and foreign within the High Line’s landscape. One can imagine they are monuments of a futuristic society or that they were dropped here by visitors from another planet. After all, that was High Line Art Curator Cecilia Alemani’s intention.

“On the High Line – where freight trains used to run 30 feet above the street, in a landscape worthy of the futuristic machinations of a science fiction movie – the sculptures presented in Archeo punctuate the landscape in unusual ways, creating a gallery of artifacts from a futuristic past,” Cecilia said at Archeo’s installation earlier this spring.

Download the current High Line Art Map to learn more about all of High Line Art’s current artworks on view.

Author: 
Rebecca Hughes
Brisket sandwich by Smokeline. Photo by Rebecca HughesThe recipe for Smokeline's delectable brisket sandwich has its origins in central Texas. Photo by Rebecca Hughes

If you’ve been on the High Line since spring of 2013, you’ve undoubtedly seen (and smelled) SmokeLine. Delaney BBQ’s first Manhattan venture is nestled in the middle of the High Line Food vendors in Chelsea Market Passage at West 15th Street, boasting an elegantly rustic wooden exterior and an incredible smoked-brisket aroma. Dan Delaney, the meat mastermind behind Williamsburg’s BrisketTown, knew as soon as he heard about the High Line that he wanted in. He hadn’t planned on expanding his smoked meat empire to Manhattan quite yet, but, Dan says, “I just loved the idea of serving food in a beautiful space to beautiful people.”

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Gene DalyBeautiful variations in color, from pale pink to bright violet, have appeared among the High Line’s Hummelo hedgenettle (Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’). Photo by Gene Daly

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.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
EnlargePhoto by Eddie Crimmins

There are an amazing variety of beautiful grasses growing on the High Line. Little bluestem is an unexpected, cooling blue-green in midsummer. The flowers of purple love grass explode into airy fireworks, and then break away and float down the High Line like tumbleweeds in late summer. Switchgrass – with its autumnal burgundies and mauves – gives depth of color and texture to the late fall and winter landscape. These are just a few examples of the dazzling range of colors, textures, and forms that the grasses lend to the park’s landscape. However, there are two species of grass on the High Line in particular that hardly ever get acknowledged. Lolium perenne, perennial ryegrass, and Festuca arundinacea, tall fescue, are the hardworking turf grasses that make up the High Line’s 23rd Street Lawn, and this week we give them their due.

Turf grasses are plants that are specially bred to optimize each species’s natural qualities. Most lawns contain a mix of these species in order to get the benefits of each one. For instance, the Lawn on the High Line is made up of a blend of approximately 20% perennial ryegrass plants and 80% tall fescue plants. Each of these species serves its own purpose in helping to keep the Lawn green and lush in the particular conditions of the park’s environment.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
EnlargePhoto by Mike Tschappat

The beauty of the High Line’s gardens is that the planting beds are an ever-changing palette of textures and colors. This time of year, as plants soak up the summer sun, their foliage seems to grow thicker and thicker each day, sometimes even reaching out into the pathway or over the railings. Summer blooms add fresh pops of color here and there: pink, white, and pale yellow coneflowers, vibrant copper-colored foxtail lilies, bright orange pollen dusting leadplant and purple prairie clover blooms, and so much more.

High Line Photographer Mike Tschappat posted a batch of recent photos capturing nearly all of this season’s blooms and it was incredibly difficult to choose just one to be our Photo of the Week. We chose this one, because it features two of our visitors’ favorite blooms of the season: foxtail lilies, Eremurus stenophyllus, and Vintage Wine coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea ‘Vintage Wine.’

Want more reasons to visit the High Line right now? See the rest of Mike’s photos on his Flickr page, and download our monthly bloom list to learn more about this season’s floral highlights.

Author: 
Emily Pinkowitz
Photo by Rowa LeeTeen staff reflect on that day's work with High Line Educator Gahl Shottan. Photo by Rowa Lee

On June 26, Friends of the High Line will celebrate the graduation of the Green Corps class of 2014 with a Garden Party. In anticipation of this year’s program coming to an end, Green Corps Leaders Beatrice Ramos and Winona Holderbaum have chosen five important moments from the year to highlight.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Friends of the High LineThe foxtail lily, Eremurus stenophyllus, is an iconic late-spring bloom at the High Line. 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.

Author: 
Erika Harvey
EnlargePhoto by Phil Vachon

If you’ve walked to the High Line’s southernmost tip, you’ve likely noticed the abrupt – yet visually captivating – way the park ends. Long ago, during the years that freight trains still chugged along these elevated tracks, the High Line cut a straight path all the way down to St. John’s Park Terminal, which occupied four riverfront blocks between Clarkson and Spring Streets. Between the 1960s and the 1990s, the portion of the High Line below Gansevoort Street was demolished a few stretches at a time, leaving us with the length you see today.

To this day, a remnant of the High Line’s southern portion still adorns the Westbeth Artists’ Housing building, on Washington Street between Bethune and Bank Streets. In this striking recent photo of Westbeth by High Line Photographer Phil Vachon, wild plants can be seen peeking through the fencing along this stranded stretch of railway that almost floats above the city streets.

Author: 
Jennette Mullaney

Great Museums has created a new documentary about the High Line, Elevated Thinking: The High Line in New York City. The piece details the remarkable transformation of the High Line and the people who made it possible.

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