Found in New York: A Pop Up Park

” It’s very important to pass on what you know, to pass on new things, things you found out. If I tell my “secrets” very quickly, then I have to find some new secrets. And so, it keeps me always on the edge — always trying something else. Passing on information is one part of your obligation of being a professional; you have to give back to your milieu.”

– Louise Genest, Book Artist. Collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.

I like that thought as it applies to the art I share on this page.

This Thanksgiving Day I also want to share with you just one of the wonders I found out about on a recent trip to NYC.

The Highline is a mile-and-a-half long park, sculpture garden, walkway, viewing platform and nature sanctuary created from disused overhead rail lines, long ago abandoned to Nature who, left to her own devices, abundantly populated the rail tracks with small trees, bushes, grasses and wildflowers (no weeds, of course). A Pop Up Park! When this quirky haven was threatened with demolition, a few committed folk of vision and energy worked hard and long with an inspired community to save it, redesign it and create The Highline.

The idea was to plant the old rail tracks with grasses, groundcovers, wildflowers, bushes and small trees – many of them natives, especially species that had survived well along the tracks previously. The planting style is loose (though not chaotic), with a “wild meadow” feel…Just think how daring that idea is, meadows and fields among the skyscrapers:

Birches and (?) serviceberries

Echinacea among grasses:

Coreopsis among grasses:

Black Eyed Susans among grasses:

Not sure of this bush but it looks rather rhodo-ish:

Sculptures are an integral part of the planting designs: each successive planted area is companioned with sculptures that relate to the planting themes. This charming stretch recalls a prehistoric era by the use of partly concealed stone figures intended to recall dinosaurs hiding among stands of vegetation. It was fun watching the kids on The Highline trying to spot shy dinos!

A “textiles” art highlight for me is the in-process work by El Anatsui using sheets of rusted metals to construct a huge metal tapestry partially on an adjacent wall behind one of the track gardens. (The old rail tracks brought freight cars to warehouses so The Highline is hemmed in by brick walls quite tightly in stretches)



And then there are the views from the heights: The white criss- crosses are simply reflections of the low late afternoon sun from window glass in the building opposite “Heavenly Body Works”…and that little green pacman thingy is a sculpture…does anyone recall the artist? I understand he has many others around the world like this, a kind of Banksy art:

Beautiful brick and stone works:

Some great sight lines at the start of The Highline at 30th St./8th Ave.:

Across to the Chelsea Piers:

More great skylines viewed through greenery:

The tracks themselves suggested a sculptural approach to hardscape for the plantings:


And one last iconic view from The Highline, a special surprise as you approach the end of the line – the Lovely Lady Liberty!

…and a final wish for Thanksgiving:

Have FUN !!!… like this next Lovely Lady with a special headdress who will be cooking her first US TG this year:

And a last, last look at The Highline….

Next post: NYC art with a textile sensibility


11 thoughts on “Found in New York: A Pop Up Park

  1. I really enjoyed all the aspects of this: the exchanges with Dylan about his work and all the reminders about leaving the inner critic behind!! Nice photos and processes..You post late on the east coast and I stay up here on the west one so et to see these early on, it seems!

  2. My granddaughter gives the same kinds of precise instructions with the same certainty! She, too, loves process. What better way to spend your time?

    Love the Art Critic Bird (and description) and the awesome blue hippo lamp!

    1. Thanks, Jen. I think that process is the always great attraction for kids, way more than results.
      If we could only trust the process in the manner of children.

  3. Lovely post Wendy. And what a great quote! We all need to play and just feel good about what we create sometimes, regardless of whether it turns out the way we want, or anyone understands/appreciates it. I love the cow/hippo ? lamp by the way – so much fun.
    Thanks for the reminder to enjoy.

  4. A very inspiring post. I like it when you say tht you do not like critics ‘who do not make art themselves’: what can they know about the creative process, the struggles, the pain, the relase?
    I also appreciated your reminder about the inner child and the inner critic.

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