PHYLLIS ODESSEY

Another kind of OM

For those who have worked on The High Line,
KEEP IT SIMPLE
KEEP IT SLOW
KEEP IT WILD
is their mantra.

Lisa Switkin, Associate Partner and Managing Director of Field Operations, gave us her take on The High Line at New York Botanical Garden on Tuesday, October 23.

As I listened to Lisa,  I understood why Field Operations was chosen for the project.
“Our first concern was to find a way to keep the magic.” 

Just walk along The High Line and its obvious that Field Operations carefully calculated the linear corridor of the space, the intimacy of the narrow width of the pathway, the history of the place as a freight line through the city, the secret garden quality of the space during the 1970’s and 1980’s and the necessity of keeping a balance between preservation and transformation.

What became the most iconic symbol of The High Line is the part of The High Line that does not exist anymore.  It is The High Line that Joel Sternfeld made famous in his photographs: wild meadow flowing through the backs of buildings in Chelsea.

“Everything on The High Line is opportunistic.  Given aspects of the rail line that could not be changed (height and direction), we used that to our advantage in the hardscape and planting areas.  “
Lisa Switkin

“Perhaps walking is best imagined as an ‘indicator species,’ to use an ecologist’s term.  An indicator species signifies the health of an ecosystem, and its endangerment or diminishment can be an early warning sign of systemic trouble.  Walking is an indicator species for various kinds of freedom and pleasures:  free time, free and alluring space and unhindered bodies.”  Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking.

The High Line is a kind of OM.

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