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 Since the weather has been so cold and snowy here I enjoy looking at my pictures of various gardens I have visited. In Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, south of 35th Street to Spring Street, the High Line’s elevated tracks were originally built to save the West Side from the rail/pedestrian traffic accidents that turned the street into a death row.  In the 1960’s the southernmost section was demolished and in 1980 the last train rumbled across the overhead rails and the abandoned line went derelict.  That is until 1999 when two New Yorkers, along with City officials, spearheaded an effort to save the overpass. It was planned to turn the High Line into a naturalistic park.

HIGH LINE IN MANHATTAN

HIGH LINE IN MANHATTAN

They designed a complex green-roof system above a waterproofing material laid on the existing concrete slab with a growing medium topping it all. Today there is a mix of native, nonnative and more-exotic cultivated perennials, shrubs and trees growing between the preserved tracks.

PLANTS BETWEEN TRACKS

PLANTS BETWEEN TRACKS

PLANTS ON THE HIGH LINE

PLANTS ON THE HIGH LINE

TREES ON THE HIGH LINE

TREES ON THE HIGH LINE

  We toured it in the summer of 2009, a  month after it had opened.  At that time nine of the 19 planned blocks were open. It was unbelievable the amount of people who turned out to walk along the old lines.  You had to get in a line, which extended a couple blocks, before you even made your way up the stairs to the line.

FLOWERS ON THE HIGH LINE

FLOWERS ON THE HIGH LINE

FLOWERS ON THE HIGH LINE 

I have been to many gardens but I think this was the first above ground garden, and certainly the first one on an old railroad line. It was quite an interesting thing to do. Along the way they had reclining wooden benches and they were filled with people sunbathing, reading, visiting with friends.  We were in New York as a tourist but it seemed most of the people here were residents.  Interesting how many would turn out to see it when they have their wonderful Central Park. The next time we are visiting New York we will need to return to see if they have extended it further and how it is doing, if it is still attracting the crowds.  What a wonderful use for old railroad tracks.  Instead of being an eye sore they were turned into a thing of beauty.

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