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

      Showing posts with label lawn. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label lawn. Show all posts

      Friday, November 1, 2013


      photo courtesy of Jen P. Hopkins
      Jen and I push our way off the 23 Crosstown bus and stroll down 10th Ave, on our way to an art gallery and then The High Line. Cars are honking, sirens are blaring and behind a white picket fence we spy this scene.
      I laugh out loud at the incongruity of largest swath of lawn in Chelsea with grazing sheep. Getty Station a new public art program just opened its inaugural show, Sheep Station by the late Francois-Xavier Lalanne, featuring 25 of his epoxy stone and bronze 'Moutons'. I'm assured by a gallery attendant that there are two kinds of sod, Kentucky blue grass and another kind that he can't remember and I can't identify.
      This was an actual filling station, much as I remember it, in a commercial neighborhood now with rolling hills and lolling sheep.
      The pleasure of walking anywhere in this city is stumbling across the surreal, and in this area, The High Line is responsible for a renaissance.

      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.

      Sunday, November 9, 2008

      Great Lawns

      Before President-elect Obama made his electrifying acceptance speech at midnight EST last Tuesday, John McCain made a concession speech on the ‘lush lawn’ (New York Times 11/5/08) of the land-marked Arizona Biltmore Hotel. Most viewers were hanging on McCain’s words. But because like most women I’m a great multi-tasker, I was also trying to get a glimpse of the lawn in the darkness.

      One and a half years ago DJ (Daughter Jen) and I stayed at that hotel for one night on our way to a longer visit to the Grand Canyon. With views of stately Camelback Mountain in the near distance the hotel, that calls itself “The Jewel of the Desert”, has a massive watering program to maintain the lushness in an alien climate. DJ and I were dismayed at the lawn and plant choices made by the landscaper and escaped to the Desert Botanical Garden nearby to enjoy a much more appropriate scene.

      Back in New York City, Central Park features a thirteen-acre oval carpet of Kentucky bluegrass known as The Great Lawn. The lawn was totally refurbished eleven years ago with special soil, sod, drainage pipes, irrigation lines and 250 pop-up sprinklers. In 1997 the cost estimate for maintaining the lawn was 650,000.

      Like the lawn at the Arizona Biltmore, it’s lush and well-cared for, and the scene of some major events. People go there to read, relax, and sun themselves, play softball, cricket, make out, and listen to concerts. The stage on the great lawn has played host to the likes of Pavarotti, Pope John Paul II, the NY Philharmonic, and a new Disney movie.

      Dear gardeners, do we need/want/deserve such a lawn? Does a privately owned hotel in the desert deserve it?

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