Tell me a story: June 2020: The High Line

We are stuck in the early stages of opening up with the Phase One of the Covid-19 pandemic. I have not been out, other than to the local grocery store, and obviously I have not been taking photo’s. So I revisited unedited images from our trip to New York City last June. While I am talking New York City and pandemic, my heart goes out to the people of New York, and especially to the families who have lost loved ones. New York was decimated by the virus and it has been hard to watch their numbers climb and I am grateful that the virus is abating. Yet even 79 deaths reported today is too many.

Planning a trip and trying to acommodate everyone’s preferences is really hard. For the most part we agreed on where we wanted to go. Some years ago I had blogged with a friend who had walked The High Lline, starting in Chelsea Market area and walking up to Hudson Yards, where we were going to take in The Vessel, which was another interesting aspect of New York that I had read about.

Walking New York is tiring. There is a lot of city, and we averaged about 6 hours a day for the 5 days we were there. What I will say about New York City is their transportation system is fantastic. However, if you are traveling at peak hours on the subway, be prepared to feel like a sardine in a tin. With all those folk on the train it is hot, and I felt like I needed to be able to get off and breathe. We spent about 1.5 hours walking around Chelsea Market. Another hint, we were too early and a lot of the places had no opened up as yet. But we got a good idea of what was in the market area.

In 1924, New York city began the creation of an elevated railway line and in 1933 the first train ran along the lines and by 1934 the train line was fully operational and providing drop offs to companies along it’s route. By the 1980’s the train usage had been significantly reduced and a port of the train line had been dismantled. In the 1980’s there was a move to preserve the structure, but nothing ever came about. In 1999 the demolition paperwork of this railway lined had been signed. However a non-profit organization had the foresight to see what this line offered, and began the process of advocating for it’s preservation.

In 2006 the railway line was given the green light and approved as a public park. In 2009 The High Line Art was founded. Walking along The High Line was a treat and I was able to see some amazing works of art. While this image above was not on The High Line, I actually took the photograph from The High Line. This amazing painting is on the side of the Chelsea Market. The artwork was painted by a Brazillian street artist name Kobra. What you don’t see is that there was a light pole in the middle of the image starting at Mother Theresa’s head and going right down the middle of the staircase, which I had to edit out. It’s not perfect but I managed to get it looking okay about 6 hours of painstaking editing the pole out.

The walkway traverses through old building and high rise buildings with beautiful gardens. Below the flowers is the artwork of Firelei Baez. According to the informational posted on the walkway by the High Line Art Feirelei Baze references European decorative arts spread by colonial empires. It depicts a sinking ruin of the Haitian Sans-Souci Palace. In this work Baez examines incarnations of Sanssouci: the 18th century Rococo palace built by Frederick the Great, the palace of Haitian Revolution leader and proclaimed first King of Haiti Henri Christophe, and Haitian revolution leader Jean-Baptiste Sans Souci, who was assassinated by Henri, Christophe”

The artwork, also gave a nice framing for the typical New York City street.

Wherever I looked, there was something to see, and most of the time I was a good couple of yards behind my other 3 travel mates. I think every so often they were forced to stop and look for me. Randomly this cross below stood out to me in the middle of the city scene. I had no idea what the three women were meant to represent but I looked up what the words meant, and the Golden Door is meant to be a beacon of promise encouraging immigrants to embrace a new land and what it offers. The words “I life my lamp to the Golden Door” is the final line of the poem “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus.

Another Kobre image that I only manage to capture a portion of was this image of Andy Warhol and Frida Kahlo. Also in the image but hidden behind the building were keith haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I wish I had been able to capture the entire painting but this was the best I could get between the two buildings.

The clock “Silent Agitator is the artwork of Ruth Ewan based on an illustration produced by labor activist Ralph Chaplin. Set in The artwork was produced for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union and shows the clock with the words “What time is it? Time to organize” refering to commonness of the clock in relation to labor struggles.

AMOR, AHAVA and LOVE are the artwork of artist Robert Indiana and are described as pop art sculptures. The word Love is translated into Spanish, Hebrew and English, representing the three most spoken languages in the city, celebrating the diversity of immigration to the cit of New York.

Below is art of Ryan Sullivan. He uses resin, fibreglass and epoxy to create his amazing work. According to The High Line display notice, “Sullivan’s latest artwork are the result of an industrial casting process guided by spontaneity and improvisation: he applies pigment and resin in multiple layers to an open faced mold. The resulting works use the non traditional painting concepts of figure and space, while also probing the limits of what a painting is. For The High Line, Sullivan installs four new resin paintings in conversation with the surrounding cityscape and plantings”

Added to the beautiful artwork is the incredible reflections seen in the glass buildings as you meander along the walkway. Added that is the mix of old and new in as far as buildings are concerned. You have the buildings that date back to early 1900’s in contrast with these high multi story glass buildings.

All along the walkway are beautiful gardens, benches to stop and catch your breath and to rest your weary feet. We are heading to the end of our journey and while my feet are tired I have no regrets requesting that we do The High Line walkway. I enjoyed every minute of it. We are heading to our next destination and you will get a glimpse of it in the last image. Yes, we are heading to The Vessel, found in Hudson Yards.

If you get a chance to walk The High Line I would encourage you to do so. You can do it at your own pace. Be prepared to stop and look at artwork, and snap photo’s. People watching is great fun as well. Make sure you allow yourself a couple of hours to do this, and don’t forget to stop by the Chelsea Market as well.

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives.  This is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Mindy Sauvageau is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share

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