I’m just coming to the end of my Festival of Fifty and so when my dear friend Helen from Anna Plains Cattle Station said that she was heading to New York to celebrate hers while at the same time supporting a friend, Felicity Brown from Hats by Felicity in Broome, who just happened to be showing her hats at New York Fashion Week-I jumped at the invitation to tag along. I mean who wouldn’t?! I was lucky enough to be the guest of dear friend Sue from Mosman Park who rented an apartment in the West Village next door to the Stonewall Inn. Sue is having a New York immersion while spending time visiting her incredibly capable daughter Phoebe, living in New York and setting the digital marketing world on fire!
New York seems to be a sort of right of passage for fifty year old women in Perth at the moment…and boy did we blaze some trails!
It was everything I expected and so much more.
First bucket list item for me was the High Line, a magical urban renewal success story right in the middle of Manhattan. This wonderful space sits high above the Meat Packers district, a disused railway line which used to fuel supplies to the biscuit factory which is now the Chelsea Market and is a fascinating space combining art, plants and creative hard scaping. The end result is that this space has brought people into an area which in years past has had a very checkered history and only a very short time ago was way too unsafe to walk through. Families picnic on weekends in this space, artists, tourists, food vendors, New Yorkers and out-of-towners all come together to “Walk the High Line”. There was even a community art project where people were working together creating a huge installation out of just white Lego bricks…just white! I mean who thinks of these things? How clever!
My thrill at seeing a giant black and white Banksy on a wall displaying a smiling Einstein expressing his message of love for all to see, was only slightly embarrassing for dear Sue, as we walked past and took Aww I don’t know maybe say ten photos and me saying “Sue, It’s a Banksy, a real Banksy” more times than was probably appropriate in public.
The plants of the Highline for me were as you can imagine, of most interest, no that’s an understatement…they were spectacular. Many plants are self sown weeds but others have been strategically placed and nurtured like Echinacea and all of the stunning trees which provide welcome shade in an otherwise hot part of town well away from Central Park. Friends of the Highline are on hand throughout the walk to share with you their passion for the design and the landscape. There is more than 300 species of perennial grasses and flowering plants to see. In full bloom was Lespedeza thunbergii ‘Gibraltar,’ with showy purple pea like flowers and grey green foliage, this stunning plant provided habitat for birds and bees alike. Silver Birches rustle in the late summer breeze.There is a lush part of the Highline where one could be transported to a woodland forrest this part is called the Chelsea Thicket, and is between West 21 st and West 22nd Streets. This part of the garden features “dogwoods, bottlebrush buckeye, giant pussy willow, American hollies, winterberries, and roses” says the guide. Hard to believe I know but there they all were.
The Highline for me is one of those incredible pinch me “I am in New York” moments marked with indelible ink onto my brain…it’s amazing, truly amazing…it’s the best of the best when it comes to urban renewal.
The new Whitney Museum of American Art has just opened and sits all white and very chic looking out over the Hudson river and is a must see while you’re in the vicinity of the Highline. There was someone filming a fashion shoot for Michael Kors, an absolutely stunning African American model just doing her thing against a wall and an old man playing Jazz.
Da ta da tada… New York New York…