I hadn’t been to New York since the High Line opened in 2009 and after a few years of growing and maturing into its environment I was interested to see what it was like for myself.
I couldn’t have picked a better day; bright sunshine, not too hot and with blossom on the trees, it was beautiful. And hugely popular! It was our first stop that day and I’m glad we arrived early, as the day went on the garden oasis turned into a busy thoroughfare.
New sections are still to be added so I’m sure the people will thin out once that opens and once we’ve gotten used to gardens in unusual places. But it does make you think of all the wasted space we have in our cities. Fly over any city and see how much space we have above ground thats not being used – roofs tops of commercial buildings are particularly wasted. The High Line reinvents a biological and culturally dead space with a mix of inventive urban landscaping and site specific art. When I went to Battersea Power Station last month it imediately reminded me of the High Line. I really hope the green spaces between the redevelopment are as well planted and constructed. It not just about bringing nature back; but giving people the opportunity to enjoy it too.
Along the Line you can even stop and listen to a story; although this did confuse me later on. I was trying to figure out where the speaker was for some amazing bird song….. then I realised it was a real bird. I guess Central Park was getting over crowded and this little bird had found a sweet spot.
Above is Nigerian based artist El Anatsui’s Broken Bridge II. Originally shown in Paris during the Triennale the piece has been reconfigured to sit in the space and reflect the surrounding buildings. Made of recycled and pressed glass mirrors the piece is on a grand scale but still retains the sense of intricacy that defines El Anatsui’s sculptures. I first saw his work when I worked on the Africa Remix exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. Do check out his work – happily he can be found in any major art gallery. Have a look at the October Gallery’s useful biography of his work.
I loved the subtle colour changes in Spencer Finch’s work The River Flows Both Ways. The colour of each pane of glass is taken from photographs of the Hudson River taken at the same point over the day, and the colour taken from the same pixel point.
Over the summer Brooklyn based Artist Carol Bove will present Caterpillar a series of seven sculptures that will be shown in the final section of the High Line the Rail Yards. The exhibition will be open for 1 year and will be the last time you can see this section in its raw state. Once the exhibition closes the Rail Yard will undergo its transformation into a new publicly accessible section. The end of the Line in once sense but a new beginning for New York.
You don’t just have to go in spring to see the flowers on the High Line. Each month provide a guide to the plants and flowers coming into season.
For more inspiration on gardens and floral design head over to my blogger friend Flowerona