Great Ideas: The High Line

A great idea. An idea with potential to really change things, to create something new, to make the world a better place. I have them all the time.

And then I think, ah well, that’s all a bit too much like work, really, for right now. I’ll get back to it later, for sure…

nyc 107In New York City, in the 1930s, an elevated railroad track was built to connect the docks, factories and warehouses that used to line the west side of Manhattan. But as the years went by, the trains stopped running, and the track was abandoned. It rusted for years, as grass grew between the rails. It was a safety hazard, attracted vermin, unsightly, covered with weeds. The city planned to demolish it.nyc 106

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But someone had a great idea.

Why not let the weeds grow?

 

 

 

In fact, add new plants: flowers, trees, grasses, ferns.

 

 

 

Make a park in the sky.nyc 075

Neighborhood activists got together, and dreamed and planned the idea of a park. A mile-long, skinny, narrow park that would have trees and grasslands and I swear, miniature wildflower meadows. High over the streets of Manhattan, you can look down on taxis and sidewalks from an honest-to-God fern grotto.nyc 091

There are more than two hundred different species of plants. Some of them are the original tough, drought-resistant weeds that grew in the gravel of the railroad bed. Others are added to please the humans–roses, ornamental grasses. But there are plenty of native species like staghorn sumac, asters, and witch hazel, for wildlife banquets. There are even trees, actual trees–small, shallow-rooted pines and birches, thriving in a thin layer of soil.

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A forest among the skyscrapers. What a great idea.nyc 080

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About unmowed

I'm a writer and a botanist who loves the weirdly weedy places of the world.
This entry was posted in great ideas, nature centers, wildlife and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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