The islands are said to have been covered once by thick forests, which, like much of the mainland, early peoples cleared to use for lumber, and to create farmland.
|Now the trees on Aran mostly look like this one.|
The sheets of limestone were broken up to clear the land, and walls were constructed out of the stone debris to divide the fields between families, clans, tribes, etc. This was what was practical, useful, and necessary to do to meet their needs for survival.
|Stone-wall fields. Inishmaan.|
|Flowers on the Highline.|
I've only been to the park a handful of times, but I think it's fantastic. The narrow space is used well, with sections of green grass, colorful flowers, trees, bushes, and spots to take in views of the city.
|The Highline, bustling with activity. Views of the Manhattan streets.|
|Notice the seemingly undulating pathway on the right of the flowerbed|
and clever design elements show up when you least expect them, like this geometric bird feeder.
|Birdfeeder. The Highline Park, NYC|
|Lincoln Center Illumination Lawn|
I'm not a psychologist or sociologist or urban planner, but I think what New Yorkers are craving is space (at least this New Yorker, anyhow). Green space. Outdoor space. Pretty space. Space to be, away from the busyness of the city streets. And since space is limited in this city, where else is there for parks to be built but...UP!
Like the Aran Islanders, we're working with what's in our environment to fulfill a basic need. The need for parks may not be as crucial for survival as the need for viable farmland, but we New Yorkers sure do need some space to relax, because relaxation can lead to happiness, and happiness - I believe - to a better, longer life.
|Happy Emily on the Highline|