Monday, June 7th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: The High Line


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
8 Comments » | Published in Green Design, Landscape Design, landscape preservation, Local Design, modern inspiration, Modern Transit, Neighborhoods, New York, Urban Planning  |  8 Comments

Ah, The High Line. After years of following this project, from the fight to save it to the competition to the completion of part one, I FINALLY got to set foot on it! I’m so happy. This design is so genius, it might just be my favorite landscape architecture project of all time. In fact, at the moment, I can’t even remember what my old favorite was, isn’t that terrible?

What’s so great about The High Line? Where to begin? I loved looking down on it from the 16th floor of The Standard. I loved seeing it from the street and thinking “I have GOT to get up there pronto!” I loved experiencing the city from that level, at eye-level with billboards, elevated cars, seeing building facades from a different height. I loved that at first glance one might be fooled into thinking the plantings were wild, but then upon seeing them seeing that they were carefully curated and that unseen maintenance was occurring. I loved all the different options for seating – some amphitheater style, some bistro tables, some lovely benches, some in the middle of a small grove.
I loved the mix of materials and the overall railroad industrial aesthetic, and I especially loved the metal tracks that remained and reminded visitors what the history of this place was all about – better yet, I loved where the tracks veered off on little side exits into brick walls, which reminded me of the entire industrial system that used to exist – the rail cargo having a direct entrance into the factory buildings. When we all try to be greener, we should think of this true door-to-door delivery where a product could go from the source to the destination in one trip.
Another thing that’s so interesting is that at one point in urban planning, skywalks were installed everywhere. This move was later blamed for the demise of street life in these areas. Conversely, the elevated public space of The High Line has made the neighborhood even more desirable and drawn even more business down at the street level on up. I’m nuts for this project. If you are too, you should become a friend of The High Line.





About Becky:
Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!

About Becky

has written 1620 post in this blog.

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the Editorial Director here on Hatch, you can find me talking design over at Houzz. Make me happy — leave a comment!



  1. Barchbo says:

    June 8th, 2010 at 7:44 am (#)

    My husband didn’t know what the High Line was so when I insisted we go on our visit to NYC a few weeks ago, he was a tad resistant. (I had to sell it with: “That train track garden where they found the dead body on Law & Order a few months ago?”) We both were totally blown away – so fabulous! So organic, useful, and cool. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, which didn’t hurt.

    Then we saw Jimmy Fallon and his wife eating hot dogs as we were leaving. Icing.

  2. Becky says:

    June 8th, 2010 at 10:34 am (#)

    Barchbo, I totally saw that Law and Order! It was a teenage girl, serial killer…

  3. Barchbo says:

    June 8th, 2010 at 11:53 am (#)

    Another reason I’ll miss L&O – I loved that they shot in the city and used landmarks. My husband is a lawyer and I also made him pose on the courthouse steps one day – so Jack McCoy!

  4. liza says:

    June 8th, 2010 at 1:52 pm (#)

    Fantastic post! You were the one who originally introduced me to the Highline last year… Thank you for this very personal, happy, gorgeous look at it. If (when) I go back East again, I will be sure to visit it, too. Love your photos, Becky!

  5. joy says:

    June 8th, 2010 at 5:53 pm (#)

    Fascinating—loved learning what the High Line project is all about!! Wonderful photos, too, Becky!

  6. Stan Horst says:

    June 9th, 2010 at 5:50 am (#)

    Loved learning about the High Line project. Hope to get there and see it someday. It just goes to show what can be done with a little dreaming, a lot of planning, and a lot of hard work. It kind of reminds me of the many tall office buildings I see with gardens on top.

    Stan Horst

  7. visualingual says:

    June 9th, 2010 at 7:20 am (#)

    Your photos are amazing! I visited the High Line in December, which is far from the best time to check out a park, but it still looked great — much more industrial and minimal, with tons of dried grasses acting as a sort of kinetic sculpture. It’s not just the concept that’s so great, but the design execution is top-notch.

  8. Becky says:

    June 9th, 2010 at 9:46 am (#)

    It is SUCH a great design! IN fact, when I saw that there was a “water feature” under construction on part of it, I thought, “why bother?”

    One of my classmates, Elisabeth Saint-Amand, received an honorable mention in the competition against a bunch of big firms, which was the coolest. Her entry was amazing. James Corner – had lunch w/ him at the UPenn open house, but decided I didn’t want to go there – their studio space was horrendous and the students all seemed depressed. He also wrote the text in one of those amazing Alex MacLean books, but I can’t remember. Oh yup, the aerial photography is incredible – MacLean is a photographer, architect, and pilot. He flies the planes while shooting:

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