Tuesday, June 19, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York.

I am having some very welcome days off from the shop.  

Tomorrow, the weather is to turn very hot, but yesterday and today, it's been quite mild for the middle of June.  Summer is just about here.

During these days off, I am fumbling around my apartment, doing some cleaning, doing some re potting of the valiant cactus survivors on my southern window, catching up on my reading, working on some crafting, and best of all, I am having fun visiting with friends.

Yesterday, it was a perfect breezy, coolish day to take a walk along the extended route of the elevated walkway on New York's west side known as the High Line.

Back when this marvelous overlook's initial route was opened, I took my first stroll along its route with my friend Elizabeth, whose blogs you would very much enjoy.  It was great fun to meet up with her again yesterday to see how the uptown, i.e. northern extension High Line route looked.

The photo below is of one of the mini gardens outside Elizabeth's apartment house that she creates.  Each of them is a taste of English country for New York City passersby.

There are various entry points for getting "upstairs" to the High Line pathway.  There are also elevators at some of these entry points that allow anyone with stair climbing difficulties to also enjoy getting up there.

To my eyes, the charm of this walkway is the contrast between the vistas you can see to the west (sometimes allowing a Hudson River view) and to the east, allowing you views of many iconic NYC architectural wonders and some other views that are just ... well, urban, ca. 2012.

There are various plantings done along the pathway, and even on a Monday afternoon, there are quite a few other pedestrians strolling along, enjoying being out, UP and about.  The plantings feature lots of greenery, and some sturdy flowers to keep us reminded of the current season.

If you take a closer look at the above photo, you'll see that the harlequin painting is a take on that famous Times Square photo taken at the end of WW II.  The painting below is of another theme.

One thing that's wonderful and a bit disorienting about walking along the High Line is that you are in the midst of some nature, both right to your left and right because of the Parks Department plantings, and can also see some beautiful gardens a bit below where you are walking (like that shown in the above photo) and also are having to occasionally dodge oncoming pedestrian traffic, while catching a glimpse of changing aspects of the New York skyline, from close up and afar.

I took the above backward photo view to indicate just how long this pathway spans.  It is not a straight path, but has lots of nooks and crannies, and occasional benches to allow strollers to sit awhile, rest, have a snack.

Here's a little puzzle for you all. If you look at the very far distance of the Eastern view in the above photo, can you spot a classic NYC building?  Clue, think Art Deco.

And, just for some contrast in scale and beauty, here is an immediate western view while walking along.  Can you spot the bit of green on the building's balcony/fire escape that echoes the big green leaves of the Parks Department planting?

At some points along the route, there is not much of a view on one side or another.  I happen to like the look of this enclosed window, but wish that whoever might be currently living or working on the other side of the brick wall might still have a view.

Ahh, here's another eastern view, just past some close up branches of another architectural icon.

And, returning for a close up, I could not resist taking a photo of this strange flowering plant. I have no idea what it might be called, but thought it resembled some sort of underwater sea animal.

As Elizabeth and I walked past this resting place, I liked the look of the juxtaposition of the pretty and happy friends enjoying the afternoon sun, with the rather severe painting on the building just behind them.  I asked the ladies for permission to take their photo and they graciously granted permission.

All along the walkway, there are railings at at height that guarantees walker safety, while also allowing walkers to easily see beyond the barriers.  There are many flowers, and these flowers were attracting lots of butterflies and bees yesterday.

I love the look of the spent flower in the following photo, since it reminds me of many of the fireworks designs that we will soon be seeing erupting over the riverside on the evening of July 4.  Nature is so full of inspiration!

As we retraced our route downtown, and found an exit staircase, I took one final photo to show the lovely afternoon sky.

Elizabeth and I made a refreshing stop along our eastward walk, for tea (for her) and coffee (for me) and some delicious cakes to fill in those little gaps our afternoon exercise had suggested.

What a marvelous day!

I will leave you with the above photo of a bit of knitting that is amongst my current yarny projects.  The grey yarn is a variegated Danish "Kauni" yarn and so will change its accenting of the changing colorways provided by my odds and ends of leftover rosy yarns.  

Tomorrow our weather is to snap sharply into summer heat.  I look forward to meeting up with other friends this week, but think that our meeting spots might involve indoor air conditioning.

Best wishes from New York.


  1. Thank you for the NY stroll. Love Elizabeth's blog too! Your yarn creation is warm and wonderful like fall!

    Hope things don't get too warm there!

  2. Another wonderful tour, Frances. It seems that you and Elizabeth had a delightful time.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hello Frances:
    We have read much in the past about the High Line, surely one of the most innovative examples of urban redevelopment, but this post of yours really does give a very good and clear overview of what it is like and to experience walking a stretch. Such views and such variation.

    We follow and enjoy Elizabeth's blog 'About New York'. How wonderful that you should be friends.

  4. The High Line Park is on my list of must-see 'gardens', the planting was designed by Pier Oudolf - his plant choices are inspirational and he has such a wonderful sense of scale and movement.

    And I love what you're doing with the Kauni yarn, isn't it addictive!! You have to do just one more row to see the colour changing.


  5. I do enjoy my walks with you Frances, and it is fascinating to see what different things you show us.

  6. Tom and I would love to have seen the view from the High Line, but the temperature was far too low for us to bear it... yet another reason to return! Cx

  7. Frances - two things! First what do you do with your cacti? I have cacti that grow and grow until they spread over the pot and down the sides and they are just a nuisance. Split them up and you have more cacti that you have to find homes for or just let die. It's a terrifying business. And its pathetic when they produce rashes of flowers which all die for want of another cactus to fertilise them.

    The second thing is that in your penultimate photograph there are some vaguely brown buildings. Are those the brownstones that we hear so much about?

  8. A wonderful walk with you on the High Line - something I'd very much like to see. What an inspired idea.

  9. What a fun post!
    Am astounded and impressed by your knitting as mine is a bit basic still.
    I'm going to post about our walk soon --and include the berry picking person....!
    We must plan another photo-op outing ( including snacks) very soon!

  10. What a lovely post! The High Line is such an inspired use of space.

    Our weather has turned very hot here too and I have resorted to cleaning out my refrigerator as the coolest thing to do that needs to be done.

  11. I really enjoyed going back with you, virtually, to the High Line. After we walked it about two years ago and I read that the inspiration had come from La Premenade Plantee in Paris, we did find it in Paris and walked on it in May 2011. I still need to make a post on it. It is so nice to find a nature path like this in the middle of busy New York City. The flowers you photographed show how delightful the High Line is. I also like your knitting, the colors are so well nuanced. I wish in a way that we had cooler weather here in Georgia in winter so I could knit more sweaters. This afternoon though in Memphis under a warm sun and a 94 degree temperature sweaters are far from the mind – I did not even pack one to come here.

  12. I was pleased to read about your walk on the High Line... it wasn't constructed the last time we were in NY and it is certainly on my "to do" list. We've had our three days of sunshine and now it is rain for the rest of the week. I hope you still have a refreshing break from work despite the temperature rising... it can be completely draining when it is hot and humid x

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  14. Another lovely New York afternoon with you, Frances - and how I enjoy these walks! You show us your city in ways I'd never have imagined it.

  15. I am sorry I missed this post, Frances, but now that I've caught up I can tell you how much I enjoyed this lovely walk, looking out over NYC from an entirely different perspective.

    I didn't know this walk existed, but it almost has to, because living in a canyon between tall buildings narrows the view.

    I am glad you have introduced me to the High Line.

  16. Love these strolls you invite us along on. And wow! at The Highline ... I've loved the idea ever since I first heard about it. As I'm unlikely to get a chance to 'walk' it myself walking it with you is the next best thing :D

  17. I'd love to walk the High Line, but coming along with you here is the next best thing. I have just the same spent Allium Christophii in my garden!

  18. I so enjoyed the walk with you along the High Line, Frances. Lovely to see the different views from there and the green and growing things too. I also loved Elizabeth's mini garden that you showed us....there is something so inspiring about turning a dull unused space into such a flowery sweet little oasis in a city or town. Thank you for an interesting post today.
    Have a happy week enjoying your New York summer weather.
    Helen x

  19. Hello from south of France. I thank you for this original visit. One day I will go to NY with family and kids and I did'nt know about the High-line. Stéphanie

  20. What a marvellous post - I almost feel as though I went on this wonderful stroll with you! How wonderful to be introduced to The High Line - I must admit my ignorance, as I knew nothing about it before now.

    Discoveries like these, (for those of us who live in different countries,) are one of the best things about this incredible blogging community of ours. Thank you for such an informative - AND beautiful post.
    Paula x