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.
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?
So without further ado, allow me to share
January “Winter” – on my High Line:
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):
As well as trees, whose bark you can only truly appreciate after all the leaves are gone.
The ornamental grasses have faded to muted shades of tan and buff, and move gracefully in the wind – beautiful.
Winter berries are real “pops” of color.
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.
There’s even a quiet elegance, now that the summer crowds are gone, to the mostly empty chairs and benches.
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?