New neighborhoods are created infrequently in New York City. For the most part, every inch of the City is already claimed, so it can be a major feat to turn something old into something “new”, or transform urban blight into urban renewal. In this case, the “neighborhood” of High Line is really not a neighborhood at all, but a 1.45 mile stretch (roughly 22 blocks) of abandoned elevated railway. High Line was built in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District in the 1930’s and was part of a major infrastructure project called the “West Side Improvement” that relocated freight train traffic 30 feet above ground, thereby protecting the streets of Manhattan from dangerous trains in an area that was once largely industrial. High Line stretches from the Hudson Rail Yard at 34th Street through the West Chelsea gallery neighborhood where it continues on to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking district.
The City of New York initially authorized the predecessor street-level railroad tracks in 1847 which ran down West Side south to Canal Street. As soon as train traffic started running on the new line, accidents began occurring among trains, pedestrians and horse carts. There were so many fatalities that 10th Avenue was called “Death Avenue”. The “West Side Cowboys” of Manhattan rode in front of the trains waving flags to alert pedestrians (in case you could not actually hear a train coming at you!).
In 1929 the New York Central Railroad, the City of New York and the State of New York created an agreement called the “West Side Improvement Project”, which included the High Line. This project eliminated over a hundred street railroad crossings. The cost in 1930 was over $150 million, the equivalent of more than 2 billion dollars today.
Originally, High Line was directly connected to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to actually drive right inside buildings and stop to drop off deliveries. Items such as milk, meat, produce and manufactured goods could be delivered via the High Line without causing additional street-level traffic. In the 1950’s, 1960’s and into the 1980’s parts of the High Line were torn down and trains stopped running on the tracks. Private property owners lobbied for the complete demolition of the High Line. Friends of the High Line, a community-based non-profit group, was formed in 1999 when the historic structure was under threat of demolition. Friends of the High Line worked in partnership with the City of New York to preserve and maintain the structure as an elevated public park and initially opened to the public on June, 2009.
High Line is the first public park of its kind in the United States. Today, this special elevated environment is a “streamlined and linear” version of a park, truly unique and enchanting with meandering concrete pathways, naturalistic plantings and lovely views of Manhattan. High Line is described as an “aerial walkway lined with concrete planks and railroad tracks, landscaped with meadows, wetlands, and wildflowers, hovering 30 feet above street level”.
High Line literally hums with over 210 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. In Section 1 of the High Line, plants and flowers were chosen for their hardiness, sustainability, and textural and color variation, with a focus on native species. Many of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed were incorporated into the park’s landscape.
Currently, only Section 1 of the High Line is open, but “Friends of the High Line” will hold its Section 2 Opening Spring Benefit on Monday, May 16, 2011. Upon completion, High Line will be a mile-and-a-half-long elevated park, running through the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. It will feature an integrated landscape, designed by famous landscape architects.
The movement towards resurrecting High Line has produced amazing results. Such a resurrection prompted Bond No. 9 to create a scent in honor of this new “neighborhood”. Leave it to Bond No 9 to create a fragrance that captures this urban landscape of wildflowers and grasses, mixed with “Tenth Avenue energy and Chelsea gallery style”. - Raphaella
NEW FRAGRANCE REVIEW
By Christine Lewandowski
It’s been a year since Bond No 9 launched it’s, named after a New York neighborhood like no other, High Line fragrance. Laurent Le Guernec is the perfumer for this, as well as New York Oud, Washington Square, Cooper Square, Andy Warhol Montauk, Harrods, No 9 Perfume, Astor Place, Brooklyn, Chelsea Square, New York Fling, Park Avenue and So New York. The notes in High Line are unlike anything else in the line or any other fragrance I know: bergamot, purple love grass, Indian rhubarb, red leaf rose, orange flower water, tulip, grape hyacinth, sea moss, teakwood, musk & bur oak.
This spring floral marine can brighten remaining days of winter with its uplifting citrus, crisp top notes. Every now and then you smell a rhubarb note in a scent. As anyone who has eaten a strawberry & rhubarb cobbler knows, rhubarb is best when mixed with something sweet. The combination of the sweet of the orange flower water, in particular, with the perfect sour-crisp of the rhubarb sets High Line apart in the “fresh” fragrance selection.
The dry down of High Line reveals a little more of its unisex character. Sea Moss, teakwood, musk and bur oak combine to create a depth of long lasting richness. The dry down remains “fresh” smelling, an outdoorsy clean, without a trace of soapiness.
It took me a year and repeated wearing to “get” High Line. At first sniff, it’s easy to miss the subtle beauty of this fragrance and its singular dry down.
Close your eyes imagine yourself sitting on a lovely teak bench. It’s just been raining, a light mist. The flowers are just beginning to push their way out of the earth, through the mulch. There they are the little purple flowers that you remember as a child. They were always some of the first spring flowers to bloom and they look like upside down bunches of grapes. Fast forward a bit to late spring, the citrus trees are blooming; the air is perfumed with their sweet scent. The last, but most fragrant of the tulips are standing tall and stately. Odd. You don’t remember tulips having a scent but these do and it’s amazing! Add this memory to the earlier one.
Summer now, seated on “your” bench, the roses and fragrant grasses are blooming now. A light breeze carries the scent of the ocean, which is nearby. You open your eyes and standing in the sunshine is a friend you haven’t seen in years, leaning against an oak tree.
High Line is a beautiful place, a New York neighborhood unlike any other. It is also a beautiful scent but it takes time to reveal itself. If you spend some “quiet time” with High Line, like I did, you may find it a place filled with memories, lovely, fragrant memories. - Christine Lewandowski
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High Line is also available in a Body Wash and Travel Pocket Spray at Bond No. 9
Bond No. 9 website www.bondno9.com Bond No. 9 toll free number: 1.877.273.3369
Bond No. 9 New York Boutiques:
897 Madison Avenue (73rd Street) 212.794.4480
680 Madison Avenue (61st Street) 212.838.2780
399 Bleecker Street (11th Street) 212.633.1641
9 Bond Street (Broadway & Lafayette) 212.228.1732
Photographs from The High Line.org
Tags: Bond No. 9, Bond No. 9 BLOG, Bond No. 9 High Line, BOND NO. 9 PERFUME, Bond No. 9 perfume reviews, High Line by Bond No. 9, HIGH LINE FRAGRANCE, High Line Scent, perfume reviews, Perfumer Laurent Le Guernec