High time on the High Line

Just as my roses were starting; the very moment my gifted peonies were about to reveal their true color; when the elderberry began to bear flowers for the first time in its life; before the stipa grew feathers and the tansy, lace, I left town for NYC. It was high time to pay a friend of mine a visit and it’s been 4 years – much too long since I’ve been to The City. So on the eve of Memorial Day weekend, I landed in at Penn Station with both walking feet and a full bladder. (FYI, the ladies’ at Macy’s is on the second floor, all the way to the back.)

Of all the places that my excellent tour guide and I walked to, over, through or around (including but not limited to the Brooklyn bridge, Battery Park, Trinity Wall Street, Hank’s – a dive bar, the Old Town – an ancestral bar, the Brooklyn Flea, Staten Island, and Ditmas Park) the High Line impressed me the most. The High Line is a historical elevated freight train line hovering above the very edge of Chelsea. The track bed has been recently repurposed as a park with walkways, public event spaces, benches and what must be literally tons of cool, tough-as-nails plants. Not only do I find it a little bit incredible that hordes of people walk up stairs to get to it (though if I lived in NYC and didn’t have a garden bigger than my windowsill, I’d probably hoof it up stairs in search of a garden too) but its design is truly sublime. They’ve managed to plant a lot of interesting things from amelanchiers to alliums while leaving the merest hint of nostalgic windblown dereliction growing through the train tracks. It’s genius.

I feel like I could live in NYC. I’m envious that my friend’s neighborhood has more natural food stores and farm-to-table restaurants in a one block radius than I have within 25 miles. With a little practice, I feel like I too could maybe navigate the subway without always ending up in New Jersey. But RI is home. My garden lives here and I don’t have to climb stairs to get to it. (And my gifted peonies are still blooming – white, hugely puff-tastic and wicked fragrant. Thanks, Layanee!)