the happy home workshop
living with style, sustainability, spirit & substance

Walking the High Line—a Living New York Landmark | 2 Comments
Sunny coreopsis, still in full summer bloom

Sunny coreopsis, still in full summer bloom.

I went on a horticultural walking tour along the High Line yesterday. What a fun way to spend what might have been (but wasn’t) a rainy Saturday morning! The walk was hosted by the New York Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association to raise money for its educational foundation. The High Line is a lovely two-mile-long park perched above New York City, starting at Ganesvoort Street in the Meatpacking District and winding through Chelsea all the way to the Javitts tradeshow center along the West Side Highway. Originally built in the 1930s as part of a massive public-private infrastructure project called the West Side Improvement, the High Line hoisted freight traffic 30 feet in the air to remove dangerous trains from the streets of Manhattan’s largest industrial district. After ceasing to function in its original capacity in 1980, the tracks turned derelict until Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, formed in 1999 to preserve the historic structure when it was threatened with demolition. Working in partnership with the City of New York they recreated the High Line as an elevated public park (click here to view some historic photos).

Over time, landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, along with architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, developed the High Line’s public landscape with guidance from a diverse community of High Line supporters. The first section, from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street, opened in June, 2009. The second section, from West 20th Street to West 30th Street, opened earlier this year (a third section is scheduled to be developed in the near future). The IFDA board members and others who participated in the walking tour yesterday were treated to an explanation of many of the gorgeous and often eccentric plants along the way by the talented landscape designer Louis Raymond, who is based in Rhode Island and is otherwise know as the plant geek.

The High Line is just one of the many reasons I love New York. Here’s a sampling of the beautiful plants I saw yesterday, all showing their early autumn colors.

Japanese Clethera

Japanese Clethera, with fingerlike flowers.

Holly with bright red winterberries.

Holly with bright red winterberries.

Gibraltar pea plant

Gibraltar pea plant with complex magenta blossoms.

Periscopic Horsetail in Diane Von Furstenberg's bog.

Periscopic Horsetail in Diane Von Furstenberg's bog.

Lablab purple leaf bean

Lablab purple leaf bean.



Rosa mudicom

Rosa mudicom with yellow flowers that mature to pink.


Sassafrass, the source of root beer.

Hearty plumbago,

Hearty plumbago, a great ground cover that blooms from August to October.


Sedum—its pale pink flowers look like broccoli heads before they mature.

2 Responses to Walking the High Line—a Living New York Landmark

  1. Kara says:

    What an excellent recap of our walk, Jean! Louis was a wonderful guide and you’ve captured some of the best visuals.

  2. Jean Nayar says:

    Thanks Kara. It was good fun and Louis was the best guide!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Copyright © 2010 The Happy Home Workshop. All rights reserved.