the high line: winter

January 7th, 2013

This is personal.

The High Line – from the moment it opened 3 1/2 years ago – has become a very special place for me. I’m drawn to it in every season, and make several trips a year just to walk it. It’s magical for me.

Chelsea and I have had an annual “girl’s night” every summer since she started college, and we stay at a hotel that actually straddles the High Line, so we can experience it at times of day and night that would otherwise be impossible.

And Noah has become extremely familiar with it over his little life.

noah, high line 2009, new york city

noah, high line 20010, new york city

noah, high line 20011, new york city

I’ve even written about our “Thursdays” here, both good and not so much.

Since I started this blog almost two years (!!) ago, I’ve been wanting to do a post about the High Line. But I wanted it to be something special – something that reflected what I love so much about it. So I decided to take my time and wait until the right idea presented itself.

And then it came to me.  A monthly series – with 12 pictures taken in the same spots – spanning a year on the High Line (I’d call it “12 x 12 On the High Line”). I was so excited – put it on my Life List (#30) and everything!

Even better? Chelsea is home from school this month and came with me for the first shoot (she is a gifted photographer with a fantastic eye). On the drive down I described the project to her, and asked for her help in selecting the 12 “spots”.

And then she said this: “So you’re going to come back in February and take 12 pictures in the same spots as today? Won’t everything look pretty much the same?”

And it was like, womp womp womp…….

She was right – and all of a sudden there wasn’t so much “there” there. We chatted some more and I realized that the better project was a seasonal post, not monthly. And that I could focus on the features of the High Line that stood out for me in each season, making for an even more resonant series. Because I love each season for different reasons, and the experience itself changes every time I visit. Why would I want to restrict myself to the same exact spots?

Which is one of the lessons Maggie shared during her Camp Mighty talk: “Be rigid only if you want to snap”.

So without further ado, allow me to share January “Winter” – on my High Line:

high line, new york city

Obviously, winter in a New York City park is NOT going to be about flowers and greenery. But winter actually reveals the “bones” of a garden – as well as the true skill of the designer. When considering what plants to use, a good designer will not only think about the “wow” factor of spring and summer (and even fall, with the gorgeous foliage to rely on). She’ll also project what that garden will look like in winter, and plan for as much interest and excitement then as any other time of the year.

The High Line is one of the best examples I’ve ever seen of this principle put into action.

While many of the plants have gone dormant – and most of the shrubs have lost their foliage – there is still so much beauty to experience. It’s just a different kind of aesthetic. For example, I particularly love flowers that leave behind seed heads, that have their own unique style (the birds appreciate them too):

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

As well as trees, whose bark you can only truly appreciate after all the leaves are gone.

high line, new york city

The ornamental grasses have faded to muted shades of tan and buff, and move gracefully in the wind – beautiful.

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

Winter berries are real “pops” of color.

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

And you can finally get a real glimpse of the tracks of the original structure – as equally an important feature of this landscape as the plants.

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

There’s even a quiet elegance, now that the summer crowds are gone, to the mostly empty chairs and benches.

high line, new york city

high line, new york city

I was a little nervous about what I would find as I climbed the steps last week to begin this project. But I should have known better. It was quiet and peaceful and so, so lovely.

I’m really excited to be sharing this special place with you, and would love to know if there is a similar spot that you hold dear – that brings you back time and time again. Will you share it with me please?

13 Responses to “the high line: winter”

  • GORGEOUS photos! That last one, of the chairs? I would totally buy a print of that. I am ashamed to say I have yet to get myself to the High Line in any season, but this post has solidified for me how much I need to go. My own held-dear place… for the past 9 years my mother was living in an apt that overlooked Riverside park, and I felt similarly about the cycle of the seasons there. But also, like so many of us in these towns, I really adore the Hudson/Palisades view from any of the Rivertown waterfronts. When the ice floes are drifting by and you can see every crevice of the cliffs, unobstructed by foliage… it’s just as beautiful as in the heart of lush summer.

    • sherisilver says:

      Thank you so so much! And I agree – even after 20 years I never get tired of that view as I approach the top of Main Street and can see the river – gorgeous in every season!

  • WOW! These photos are fantastic, Sheri! I went to the High Line when I visited in NYC in 2009 and completely fell in love with it. I’m so excited about your series.

  • Sheri, congratulations on your new series – that’s so cool! I’ve been wanting to go back to NYC and see the High Line – your photos make me want to go even more. Love the images of little Noah – so sweet!

  • sherisilver says:

    Thanks so much ladies! I would love nothing more than to give you each a nice long tour! xoxoxo

  • This is my favorite spot in the city too. I’ve visited a number of times and have captured some great shots there. Looking forward to seeing each season on the Highline! That last shot of the chairs is gorgeous!

  • love the high line love the pics in this post cant wait to see thru your eyes at changes seasons

  • What a great way to celebrate a place you love. We visited NYC in 2010 and the Highline was ummm… high on the list! We loved it and can’t wait to return and see the newer sections. It looks beautiful in winter!

    • sherisilver says:

      Thanks so much! I just spent some time on your lovely blog – your photos are beautiful! I’m a new fan! 🙂

  • Sheri,
    The High Line opened the year we moved to California and it was killing me that I was missing it. Every trip back to NY my daughter and I strolled through…but your photos capture it even more beautifully than I could ever have imagined it in Winter. I love the photo of the grasses against the chain link…and the chairs all lined up…really beautiful!
    annie

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