Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The second section of The High Line opened to great fanfare during the second week of June . One of the most eagerly awaited areas was a lawn, where visitors could picnic, people watch and loll. By the time I got to see it on 8/26 the sign above was posted.I'm told that visitors to the first section felt strongly that a lawn should be included in the design for the new sections. So now we design gardens according to poll data? Could there be no understanding of what 3,000,000 visitors a year would do walking on a small patch of grass? And why even try to achieve a trimmed, perfect lawn when the most delightful aspect of The High Line is it's feeling of escape into nature?

I led a tour of the High Line for a bus group of out-of-staters this spring, and one woman's comment at the end of the tour was that the park was too narrow. It should have been widened. I explained yet again about the restoration of the original rail line going into the meat packing plants; she thought the park would be nicer wider. Perhaps more strips of lawn around the edges?

My Idea of the Perfect LawnAt the home of Jen & Mark Hopkins the 'lawn' gets mowed once or twice a year, paths mowed more often to make it easy to walk across to a neighbor or a favorite view.The front 'lawn' at the home of Diane & Gary Hitzemann gets the same mowing treatment. Flower beds, thyme scented bluestone paths and terraces with tables and chairs are close to the house. The rest is meadow. It's perfect.


Cheval Force Opp said...

Lawn is in the eye of the beholder?

Ellen Zachos said...

I'm with you! Our woodland lawn is mostly moss. If I had grass (and used all the necessary herbicides and fertilizers) I'd never find all those lucious mushrooms just outside my front door.

Besides, The High Line is a sophisticated, uber-urban, industrially influenced garden. The lawn is out-classed and out of place.

Marie said...

I know it's PC to hate lawns, and I understand why, but I like that High Line lawn. And it's tiny. And people love to sit on it. And take their shoes off, and feel the grass. That is pleasure.

Ellen Spector Platt said...

Marie, PC is such a perjorative; I don't hate lawns at all; proper time and place and all that. On The High Line it borders on the grotesque.
I've walked barefoot on the cool marble floor of the Louvre until a guard told me in no uncertain (French) terms to put my shoes back on. Didn't mother ever say you can't have everything you want?

Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marie said...

Sorry, sans typo this time:

PC perjorative?...I hadn't thought of it that way. I was referring to the general 'we hate lawns' vibe out there. Anyway, I'm sorry if it gave offence. I also feel strongly about the lawn, and do not find it grotesque, rather, soft and inviting.

Unknown said...

dear, I like those pictures very much.

Jenna said...

These pictures are really gorgeous!

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