Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The High Line and Hudson River Park

This past weekend, I had a chance to visit two beautiful public spaces in Manhattan—the High Line and Hudson River Park. I saw the city through another lens, transformed by environments that combine nature with thoughtful design to create havens for city dwellers.

On the High Line, one sees the city from a new perspective. Built on former elevated railroad tracks on the lower West Side, the High Line meanders several stories above ground. Elegant plantings provide a charming immediate environment, while views of the Hudson and the surrounding cityscape yield surprising and lovely longer-range sights.

One can see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island shimmering through a window of buildings and a pedestrian bridge.

New and old construction along the High Line adds interest. It's uplifting to see the Meatpacking District and Chelsea in a new light.

Hudson River Park is a great place to walk or bike on a warm summer day in Manhattan. A cool breeze comes off the water and the old piers have been re-invented as parks and playgrounds.

Ancient pilings have been left in place, forming sanctuaries for fish and wildlife.

Across the river, the skyline of Jersey City looms impressively.

And a look back at Manhattan yields a striking view of the Empire State Building. 

I love the energy of Manhattan. When I walk among the city's skyscrapers, I'm amazed at what human beings have accomplished. But when I visit the city, I also long for space, sky, and greenery. The High Line and Hudson River Park offer a unique combination of the man-made and the natural.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.


  1. I like the ancient pilings best. They look like little people, somewhat decayed. But the grass on the stairs is a close competitor. Nice that landscape and playground designers are catching up with architects.

  2. The High Line is one of my favorite parks. I think in some ways it's kind of ridiculous and overdesigned, but it's wonderful the way that it gets people talking. The Christo installation in Central Park did the same thing a few years ago. Total strangers were engaged in aesthetic arguments — friendly ones. It was just delightful. Please call me, though, the next time you visit NY. Would love to meet for tea.