Labor Day Around The High Line

It’s our go-to place on a nice day. Labor Day in New York was one of the nicest days of the year so we took advantage. The native vegetation had filled out to an amazing degree. Funny how in one context (my flowerbeds) they’re weeds; in another they’re a carefully selected grouping of native plants. But I digress. You should have seen the hydrangeas!

Today’s topic is how the really cool stuff in architecture seems to be happening now in this neighborhood on the far west side that used to be empty, decrepit and maybe a little scary. Now restaurants, hotels, outdoor cafes, boutiques etc. etc. are springing up like native grasses among my day lilies.

Take for example this grouping:

And how the curvaceousness of the Gehry building on the left works with the Mondrian grid of the one at the upper center. And how the more straightforward grid of the one in front anchors them.

In New York, the constant cycle of destruction and rebuilding seems to have been temporarily arrested. Found objects and repurposing of old buildings work in harmony with the unexpected and new.

Take this railing outside the old NBC studio above, turned into a restaurant:

Made of pieces of rebar, repurposed bronze railings, expansion bolts, steel cable.

Just behind, a bench. Did they have to make a custom bench that looked really cool like this one? No, but they did anyway.

Back up on the High Line, Phase II is being prepared. At the north end of Phase I there’s a chain-link fence blocking the way, but it’s worth a visit for the art:

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It’s a Hudson River-school inspired work, which is only natural because the River is just two blocks away. The tattered canvas is intentional — and notice how the stretcher bars off to the right revert to tree branches.

There might still be a little resistance to the gentrification of the neighborhood, if I’m right in interpreting this graffiti as a commentary:

But the park itself is so democratic, so accessible, that you can’t object. Plus, we found a place right next to it that offered $6 burgers, which is just fine. By night, some of the older factory buildings are lit up, and the city itself starts to look like a work of art.

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