Before the onset of spring, our High Line gardeners and volunteers begin to work vigorously on trimming back textured grasses and perennials to make way for new growth along our 1.5-mile-long park. February 29 marked the first day of this monumental task, called Spring Cutback. And with the completion of this undertaking in our sights, we reached out to one of our dedicated volunteers, Bridget Gramling, about her Cutback experience and continued support of the High Line.
1. How long have you been a volunteer at the High Line? In what capacity?
I became a High Line volunteer in 2012. I started as a Play Partner, and the following year, I became a Greeter, a Docent, and an On Call Supporter as well. As I live in the neighborhood, I am a Community Outreach volunteer. I help Myrna Cabán Lezcano, the Youth Programs Manager, with the teen programs, offering an annual résumé workshop to them. I'm also helping to create an in-house Wiki to serve as a resource for volunteers and staff.
2. What excites you the most about Spring Cutback?
I think I've participated in three cutbacks, and what excites me is being part of the transformation of the park. Everything is pretty brown and sparse over the winter, and I love the cleanness of the newly cutback gardens. You can see the rails best this time of year. I love the High Line, and spending time in the planting beds when it's finally getting nice outside is heaven (though my back and knees might not agree!).
3. Describe the Cutback process in one word.
Alive. Seeing the tiny green shoots appear as you cut away all the brown is a clear reminder that spring and nice weather is around the corner.
4. What does the High Line mean to you?
It's my sidewalk. It's my favorite place to drink coffee and do my crossword puzzles or read. It's a place to grab a glass of wine with my husband or a girlfriend. It's a place of quiet in a crazy city, even when it's crowded.
5. Describe the feeling of being a part of the High Line community.
I moved to New York in 2010, and while New Yorkers are very friendly people, it was hard to make friends here. The park was in my neighborhood, so I thought I would volunteer in order to meet people. I have made some incredible friends, both volunteers and current and former FHL staff. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined how being a part of the High Line community would change my life and my New York City experience.
6. What excites you about the future of the High Line?
Everything. I'm excited about the Spur and, eventually, the full build-out of Section 3. I'm excited to see what the new facade of the Chelsea Market looks like, and what changes will come to the 14th Street Passage.