Plants, People, and a City on the Move
Our second walk along the High Line was quite different from the first. Plantings had segued from summer greens and golden yellows to autumn’s earthy reds, blues and buffs. Asters and grasses were headliners now, with berries and seeds in supporting roles under a backdrop of rumpled October clouds.
On this day we were seeing the High Line in the context of the city, the brick and stone and glass that surrounded us.
Perhaps because we were walking from north to south, or perhaps because we entered the High Line through one of the newly minted skyscrapers of Hudson Yards, we began to see a continuum of neighborhoods, the classic and timeworn bucking snazzy and modern.
Traditionally, Hudson Yards is the parking garage for Long Island Railroad passenger cars. Tomorrow the cars will be hidden under a vast platform of newly created real estate, a glittery wannabe center for New York City one percent.
Decades in planning, it is a study in economic optimism, or even romanticism, the largest building enterprise in the country ever. In less than a decade Hudson Yards expects to host millions of square feet of business, residential, entertainment, and cultural space in a cluster of skyscrapers with miles of supporting roads and parks, even a subway stop.
For a while the sociologist in us trumped the gardener. There are so many nooks and crannies, open spaces, benches and chaises, funky artwork, water, even a seesaw, where people can hang out.
People sound asleep. People stretched out, bodies entwined. (No pictures of these activities.)
But the cityscape pulled us back. We looked west toward the Hudson River where the manicured Hudson Yards would emerge.
We looked east to Chelsea with its amalgam of color and geometry, imaginative, buildings mixed-up in an old, not so tidy but visually charming neighborhood.
And finally, billboards and signs were alive with the irrepressible New York City wit and talent for unique expression. You just read one great example above, here are some others.
And just a few more. . . .