High Line Blog

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Author: 
Erika Harvey
EnlargeIn this photo from 2011, two visitors are perfectly outlined by the High Line’s illuminated frame at West 26th Street. Photo by Timothy Schenck

Extended spring hours mean more time to experience after-dark hours on the High Line. With the park now open until 10:00 PM – and temperatures in a much more friendly range – visitors can enjoy the light show that makes the “city that never sleeps” so enchanting.

The High Line’s position on Manhattan’s far west side makes it the perfect place to watch the evening’s slow transition from day to night. Bright skies warm to darker orange and red hues as the sun dips below New Jersey’s skyline across the Hudson River. The best seats in the house can be found on the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck, on the High Line between West 14th and West 15th Streets, and at West 18th Street. Cross streets, like this gorgeous view of West 26th Street captured by photographer Timothy Schenck, also offer a unique opportunity to see the park silhouetted against the colorful evening sky.

Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Phil VachonAn early spring bloom, winter aconite is an important source of food for foraging pollinators. Photo by Phil Vachon

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: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Liz LigonNew York City Department of Parks and Recreation Borough Commissioner Bill Castro shears a tall patch of grass to cheers from Executive Director Jenny Gersten, Borough President Gale Brewer, and volunteers. The Borough Commissioner and Borough President stopped by on Wednesday to mark the official end of this year's Spring Cutback. Photo by Liz Ligon

We've reached the official end of Spring Cutback 2014! After four weeks of hard work by staff and volunteers, this massive horticultural endeavor is complete.

We were concerned about the lasting effects of this frigid and tenacious winter on the High Line's landscape. However, there is at least one advantage of a tardy spring. "Delays in spring weather mean that we can witness the bulbs break ground," said Senior Gardener Maeve Turner. Unlike previous years, when new growth would lie hidden beneath the yet-to-be-cut dried grasses and shrubs, this spring's belated blooms will emerge in our neatly trimmed beds.

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: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Steven SeveringhausA blue stripe adds color to the pale petals of Puschkinia scilloides var. libanotica. Photo by Steven Severinghaus
 

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: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Mike TschappatOn Monday, more than 20 volunteers came out to help the High Line Gardeners tackle the densely planted Chelsea Grasslands. Photo by Mike Tschappat
 

We're approaching the end of Spring Cutback, an annual endeavor to trim back more than 100,000 plants along the High Line to make room for new growth. This week staff and volunteers began to tackle several densely planted areas, including the Chelsea Grasslands, which stretch from West 17th Street through West 20th Street.

See more photos from the third week of Spring Cutback below.

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: 
Jennette Mullaney
Categories: 
Photo by Timothy SchenckWhether semi- or fully nude, Pan delighted visitors from all over the world during his time on the High Line. Photo by Timothy Schenck
 

Pan, a mischievous-looking satyr, has been charming visitors from his perch at Gansevoort Street for nearly a year. Created by artist Sean Landers, the sculpture is part of Busted, a High Line Art group exhibition.

Author: 
Anne Hunter
Photo by Friends of the High LineSunbathers will flock to the 23rd Street Lawn when it opens to visitors in May. But "right now, the Lawn is covered with a different type of sunbather – the Miss Vain crocus," says High Line Gardener Maeve Turner, who works year-round to keep this space healthy.

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: 
Jennette Mullaney
Photo by Friends of the High LineDespite the steely gray sky, we relished the opportunity to get our (gloved) hands dirty during Wednesday's all-staff Spring Cutback.

We’ve completed our second week of Spring Cutback, reaching the halfway point in our effort to shear back more than 100,000 plants along the High Line. As we trim the dried shrubs and grasses of our winter garden, we make room for the green growth of spring.

See more photos from this past week below.

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