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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label The High Line. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label The High Line. Show all posts

      Sunday, July 27, 2014


      The High Line in Chelsea is a victim of it's own success. What once was a quiet oasis above the traffic where Ellen Z. and Ellen S. P. could hear birds singing in the birches, is now a hub of frenzied construction. Buildings on both sides of the garden walkway are springing up, only a few feet on each side of the plantings. (above)
      But on a rooftop of a co-op on W. 26th,  two women are making the most of their rooftop space.
      They've planted a few veggies and herbs, some ornamentals and vines to soften the industrial look of the walls.
       On the 13th floor, residents can go to relax and view OPG (that's text talk for Other People's Gardens).
      What used to be strictly 'tar beach' now has a mix of greenery scattered throughout.

      Monday, June 10, 2013


      Collage on canvas, photos, acrylic, pressed leaves © ellen spector platt, all rights reserved.

      Not The High Line Park, but my collage version made from 37 images I captured during 15 visits in different seasons starting in 2009. I select, print on plain acid free paper and cut out features that I want to include.
      Starting with more images than I think I need I lay out the picture, below in its first approximation.
      Then add more images,
      including a man stooping down on the right, photographing hydrangea and tracks leading into the picture enhancing the  perspective. Nothing is glued yet.
      Move the man to the left, add a boy to the right, more Liatris on the left.
      Dab the canvas with blue acrylic paint using a dry paper towel. Glue down the skyline starting from the top overlapping as I go, then the rest of the images. Note below, both the boy and the man have been edited out. This skyline is my own, reconfigured from buildings I see from this fabulous walkway. The flowers I include don't all bloom simultaneously.
      I add pressed leaves of Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) because they grow on The High Line. These come from my own garden of course. In the lower third, I add more images coated in acrylic gel medium crushed into 3D elements. See what I mean in the finished piece at the top.

      Monday, January 28, 2013


      January 19th on The High Line and the Jelena witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena') startles with its blaze. The dead brown leaves don't drop but survive on the shrub's branches. At first I'm put off by the dead/live combo, but the sun shinning through the flowers is irrepressible.
      Brilliant blue berries on juniper pair with grape holly (Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun')
      in full bloom.
       Even where the trees and shrubs are totally bare, the colors of birch and willow bark make me appreciate the thought behind the plant choices. But plants aren't the whole reason for going to The High Line right now. Art abounds.
      At 23rd. St when we entered we were greeted by this street art on an adjacent building.
      Then unexpectedly there was a major piece using recycled pressed tin and mirror by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui. (below, partially hidden by the juniper, 'Broken Bridge II). 
       Reflections from nearby buildings incorporate themselves as part of the work. I didn't recognize the artist's name but the style kept niggling at my brain. When I got home I pieced together that he is the same artist I visit regularly at the Met Museum to pay homage to his  'Between Heaven and Earth'. He will have a major show of his monumental works at the Brooklyn Museum of Art from Feb. 8-Aug. 4, 2013.
      If you're tired of looking at plants and art, try the ever popular New York sport of people watching.
      What is the fascination of looking down on 10th Avenue?

      Above, the Empire State Building, grape holly, winterberry, witch hazel, and Jen P. Hopkins.

      Tuesday, August 7, 2012


      So there I was in Paris last week, with Ben and two friends from Wales, not at the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, or Notre Dame Cathedral. I had convinced the other three to stroll with me along the Promenade Plantee, a park which claims to be the first in the world on a rehabbed elevated train track. in a formerly seedy section of the city.
      Arising from the Bastille metro station and finding the entrance to the Promenade Plantee, we walked up some concrete steps and I found my personal greeting in graffiti. ESP for sure on the left, (my initials) and does that say 'love' behind it?
      Not seen in this serene image four loiterers who were not above greeting a woman of a certain age with some crude come-ons, as I had raced up the steps ahead of my companions .
      Roses everywhere including the arches covered with canes. Shoulda been here in June.
      Just like in New York, many are running or talking on cell phones, ignoring the huge plantings of lavender.

      The buildings close by look a little different.
      Not every plant is a rose bush, there are lots of large trees that look like they might have been part of the original plantings in 1986.

      Visitors are strolling, but at least at 11 am on a Saturday morning, far fewer tourists than on The High Line in New York. Kids are on skates and scooters, not allowed in NYC and I had the feeling from seeing this guy and others that there's less attention to rules and security in general. Buildings that abut the Promenade Plantee are within spitting distance as in NYC, and the whole area has been revitalized by this park, which was opened in 1989. Some of the buildings display a mixture of old and new exterior walls.

      We walked about half of the almost 3 mile Promenade because part was closed and John spied a likely looking cafe below on Ave. Daumesnil; I'm always ready to act agreeable where food or drink is concerned.
      Missing in Paris is the brilliant diversity of plantings along The High Line in NYC and the inclusion of pieces of the track, railroads ties, and iron walls, all helping the visitor to understand what has been accomplished. But Paris has the pride of being first; future designers could build upon its successes and failures.
      Under the walkway, the arcades were also redone and offer space to high-end shops below.

      Thursday, November 17, 2011


      Again, The High Line. Endlessly fascinating in every season. Join me on a trip to a hidden spot smack in the middle of Manhattan. See it before the third section, the Spur over the Hudson rail yards, is rehabbed.

      to view full screen, click on arrow, then on cluster of four tears, near bottom right of video.To hear my glorious narration, make sure your sound is ON.

      AFTER, on the second section, between 20th and 30th sts.

      Tuesday, October 4, 2011

      Grazing the 'Hood

      I know, I know, we've written a lot about The High Line here at Garden Bytes. So sue us. We like it.

      Monday morning I took a new friend to visit: Francesca Yorke, who taught the Garden to Plate photography class I took last month in Santa Fe. It was lovely strolling the park with a companion in photography, each of us finding images that floated our respective boats.

      No surprise that my boat was floated by the surprising number of ornamental plants with edible parts. I'm a little obsessed at the moment, working on my back yard foraging book. But even for me, who sees edible plants everywhere, The High Line was impressive.

      Let's be clear: I am NOT suggesting you graze The High Line! (I promise I didn't pick a single thing.) But take a walk and see what's on the menu. Then use it as a model for your own yard or terrace. You might be surprised by how tasty some of those traditional ornamentals can be.

      Use dried, ground juniper berries in spice rubs.

      The flesh of yew arils (berries) is sweet and juicy. But spit out the seed...it's highly poisonous!

      Sumac berries are tart and lemon-y. You can make sumac-ade, or use it to flavor rum. I vote for rum.

      Both the flower and berries of elderberry are tasty in multiple ways.

      That's right, sedum leaves. Put 'em in your salad.

      Young sassafras (the autumn leaves above are too old), when dried and ground, make file gumbo.

      Rose hips are very high in vitamin C and make a great jelly.

      Thanks for the acorns, noble oak!
      (Thanks for the sign, Manhattan Mini Storage.)

      And thanks to The High Line for showcasing so many useful/delicious plants, of which the above are a mere smattering.

      Tuesday, September 13, 2011


      The second section of The High Line opened to great fanfare during the second week of June . One of the most eagerly awaited areas was a lawn, where visitors could picnic, people watch and loll. By the time I got to see it on 8/26 the sign above was posted.I'm told that visitors to the first section felt strongly that a lawn should be included in the design for the new sections. So now we design gardens according to poll data? Could there be no understanding of what 3,000,000 visitors a year would do walking on a small patch of grass? And why even try to achieve a trimmed, perfect lawn when the most delightful aspect of The High Line is it's feeling of escape into nature?

      I led a tour of the High Line for a bus group of out-of-staters this spring, and one woman's comment at the end of the tour was that the park was too narrow. It should have been widened. I explained yet again about the restoration of the original rail line going into the meat packing plants; she thought the park would be nicer wider. Perhaps more strips of lawn around the edges?

      My Idea of the Perfect LawnAt the home of Jen & Mark Hopkins the 'lawn' gets mowed once or twice a year, paths mowed more often to make it easy to walk across to a neighbor or a favorite view.The front 'lawn' at the home of Diane & Gary Hitzemann gets the same mowing treatment. Flower beds, thyme scented bluestone paths and terraces with tables and chairs are close to the house. The rest is meadow. It's perfect.

      Thursday, September 1, 2011

      THE VIEW

      Double click on any image to see details.
      The view from the second section of The High Line is in many places as interesting as the park itself. Apartment buildings are as close as 6' from the railing of the elevated walk. It must be highly annoying to some residents; others have decided to make their own political and artistic statements. These pots seem to be resting in rope slings hung on the outside of the balcony. Safe?If you meant to get to church Sunday morning but didn't quite make it, you're only about 10' away from the Church of the Guardian Angel on 10th Ave and W. 23rd. St.And my favorite, a design of stripped branches to enclose a balcony, below. These are not telephoto images. Notice the railing of The High Line, bottom right. I'm leaning against the railing, about 6' from the balcony. Someone designed a fabulous privacy solution. Chairs and a table are just on the other side of the branches.

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