Gallery: EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Section 2 of the High Line Officially Opens!

A public plaza called The Lot just opened up to occupy the empty lot next to the High Line at 30th Street, and for the next month, it will serve up food, kids stuff and other recreation under the surreal inflated bouncy castle-esque Rainbow City installation created by FriendsWithYou and sponsored by AOL.

Like much of New York’s population, the Inhabitat team has been eagerly awaiting the opening of section two of the High Line for months. Whether peeking through the fencing at the first section’s 20th Street park terminus, or following The Friends of the High Line website and social media feeds, we could not crack the shroud of secrecy around this much-awaited project – until today. The journey begins at the park’s 20th Street intersection, where a dense landscape of shrubs and small trees obscures the view of the Neil Denari’s HL23 tower and the High Line’s new section two, and makes a visitor feel like they are meandering a path through an overgrown forest!

THE THICKET

The paving here at the “Chelsea Thicket” resembles that of the original southern section of the High Line, creating a sense of continuity from the previous design, but the ambiance is decidedly more private and intimate. Whereas in Section One, trees are generally planted individually or within regular geometric planters, in “The Thicket” vegetation defines the space. Views are carved out between the foliage as visitors zig-zag through, highlighting narrower segments of the city and revealing glimpses of specific buildings, such as the elegant, tapering HL23 residential tower by Neil Denari.

THE SUN LAWN

The High Line meanders up north through the thicket where shrubbery and trees fade away and a public plaza emerges. The 22nd Street Seating Steps and 23rd Street Lawn combine to form a pleasant lounging space – the first invitation to step off the High Line pavement and enjoy the park from within its vegetation. While flat and seemingly uninteresting on its own, the 4,900 square-foot lawn transforms into an exciting public space when activated in conjunction with the steps by park-goers. The seats, made in a similar architectural language and materials as the 10th Avenue Plaza, replicate the intimacy of the Chelsea Thicket, and indicate a point of repose within this exciting urban jungle. As you continue walking, it is clear that this lawn is not merely a flat patch of grass; the concrete slab on which it sits peels up from the rail line’s plane, rising like a periscope to afford loungers views of the neighborhood below, the Hudson River, and Midtown Manhattan skyline.

At the crest of this green wave, a concrete lip becomes a bench and forms a seating plaza adjacent to Neil Denari’s HL23 building, which we’ve covered on Inhabitat here.

All photos © Inhabitat

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2 Comments

  1. dnewcum July 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    What are the names of the trees and shrubs planted on the High Line? I was just there and am wondering about a specific tree. Someone said it was a smoke tree.

  2. kiangoh June 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Thanks for the great photos and really extensive write-up! I think the new section looks great. I have some thoughts on some of the socio-economic and privatization issues. My thoughts on the High Line and other NYC parks here: http://mvmtbldg.wordpress.com/2011/06/08/what-kind-of-park/