The High and Low of an urban landscape


With spring upon us, and the weather finally warming up, I’ll be heading over to the High Line for a stunning green respite from my urban setting.

The High Line is a public park built on an historic, elevated freight rail line on the West Side of New York City. Like Grand Central Terminal (saved by Jackie O), the historic structure was slated for demolition.

The City of New York owns it, but the High Line is maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. I remember how hard the community fought for its preservation and transformation. And what an amazing project they launched in 1999, and finally opened in 2009.

If you’re in the NYC area and haven’t walked the High Line yet, you’re missing a great experience.

The High Line Zoo (Exhibit 2012)

The High Line Zoo was an exhibit I caught during a walk in the summer of 2012. It was set up on a rooftop parallel to the High Line. The exhibit consisted of flat, animal cutouts. During the day, the animal shapes were white, but at night, they came to life in glowing bright colors with accompanying animal sounds. Highly original and creative, take a look.

The High Line doings 2013

High Line Art has commissioned artist Carol Bove to present seven large-scale sculptures on the High Line at the Rail Yards, the third and final section of the High Line. Caterpillar will be on view beginning Thursday / 16 May, offering one final opportunity to see this section of the elevated railway in its natural state before it opens as public park in 2014.

For more info, click here. Check out May’s blooms, and other art installations.

what’s happening in new york, public parks, green walks, urban development, The HIgh Line, The Lowline


The site of the former Williamsburg Trolley Terminal which was in service until 1948 has been neglected for more than six decades. The incredible space still houses some amazing features, such as intact cobblestones, criss-crossing rail tracks and vaulted ceilings. It’s currently a dark, dank breeding ground for rats.

But two creative individuals, Dan Barasch and James Ramsey, want to change that. They have proposed plans to turn the cavern into the city’s first subterranean park – The Lowline.

How? By using fiber optic technology to light and power the space. An above-ground collector dish would reflect and gather light, then redirect it underground, where a second distributor dish would spread it throughout the space – enabling trees, plants and grass to grow.

While city officials are intrigued, the project has no green light as yet. Why? Cost of course. If you are curious to see The Lowline become a reality, consider donating here.

Time to look for some green – up, and maybe in the future, down. Go take a walk.

Photo: Timothy Schenck / Courtesy of Friends of the High Line.

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