San Francisco's once-barren industrial waterfront between the Giants ballpark and Candlestick Point is rapidly becoming a 13-mile-long green patchwork of restored wetlands, parks and a maritime museum connected by bicycle paths, walking trails and the nearby Third Street MUNI light rail. It's part of the greening and peopling of Port District waterfronts that includes an accidental bird wonderland where a cargo pier was never completed, the open space around Candlestick Park (which will be demolished this year and replaced with 6,000 homes) and lots of little pieces along the shore being put together by the Port of San Francisco and the city's parks department.[...]
This excerpt comes from Diana Balmori's A Landscape Manifesto. Balmori Associates, her landscape and urban design firm, recently completed a nine-mile linear park on the abandoned New Haven railroad in Connecticut.
Converting a railroad corridor to a linear park results in an essential transformation of a past artifact. Though linear parks and other new landscape forms take their structure from the past, they have risen to the level of new typologies. They mark the beginning of a new landscape agenda. The example of an abandoned railway line made into a linear park or greenway will serve as the poster child of such ecological transformations.
Have you been outside? Sure you have—gotta go buy Wheat Thins and cigarettes sometime. But have you really been outside? These in particular are the short weeks that genius NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe has set up to make New York City a ridiculous and tawdry explosion of plant reproductive techniques. Central Park—where that delicious little bit of forest above is—is like a tree orgy; it's sort of embarrassing! And elsewhere around the city, it's a testament to the City's impressive investment to intelligent planting and plant care. Sure, the argument could be made that it just gives the homeless somewhere nicer to sleep, or it makes a nice backdrop [...]
Attention New York City cat lovers! There are at least three little round beds of catmint growing in Stuyvesant Square Park, at East 16th Street and Second Avenue, tucked just behind the gates on the west side of Second Avenue, right where you enter from the crosswalk. (The park across from Friends School, where Julianne Moore is dropping off her children now, not the park across from Beth Israel, where Jews are convalescing.) The plant looks like mint, obviously, and grows in a circle with a little hole in the middle. Bring a leaf home to your cat friend today, he will thank you with insanity and perhaps [...]
As it's likely that Mike Bloomberg won't get a fourth term—[pause for mild, uncomfortable laughter]—our time with New York City Parks Comissioner Adrian Benepe will likely come to an end next year. This may be the penultimate spring during which we can enjoy his good works. Despite that he's lost almost a quarter of Parks Dept. staff over the last four years, and that he's has had budget cuts for each of the last three years, many of New York City's parks look pretty amazing. It's bearded iris season! Right now! There's flowers everywhere! And there's smart, sustainable, well-sited plantings for shady areas and sunny areas alike. So as [...]
New York City's greatest administrator, Parks & Rec Commish Adrian Benepe, has folded or wadded in the face of the bizarre Coney Island toilet-paper rationing disaster. (Workers or their superiors took it upon themselves to ration out toilet-paper.) Today Benepe comes out swinging: "It's our business to help New Yorkers do theirs." THAT'S GOOD STUFF. As we have noted before at length, Benepe is responsible for much of the recent beautification of New York City. For instance, did you go down to the Hudson last night for the fireworks? (Surely you did, because apparently everyone was there, it looked like Cloverfield on the way home, with people [...]
Friends of the High Line put up its "initial design concepts" for the final, northern-most leg of the world's skinniest park. Responses seem outlandishly exuberant. The way they're handling the coming Rail Yard developments—the High Line wraps around the yards, at 11th Avenue—is best described as "minimally." The High Line's "interim walkway" will be just a thin path, while everything settles down around the neighborhood. That's smart, and probably needful, but it'll be a hot, crowded mess. Anyway: pretty renderings! As always.
You can see all sorts of things today for the first time on the new upper stretch of the High Line, which runs from 20th to 30th streets—from a great view into Marianne Boesky's Deborah Berke-designed house/gallery to children frolicking to some very good-looking people. Also, a top-notch plant. Also! The best (aka "fastest") place to get your car inspected in New York City: right at the corner of 10th Avenue and 26th Street. (Also a scary art installation below.) Spotted last night: people actually eating berries off bushes. I hope they feel okay today?
The High Line park, ten years in the making, officially opened yesterday. What's striking on the High Line, apart from its delightfully uneven poured walkways (the arguments and code-wrangling there must have been!) and benches on wheels, is what you can see not on but from the narrow strip of railway. It presents an idealized, bizarre version of New York City, a west side skyline you haven't seen before. Disorienting! Where are we?