Lectures & Speaking Engagements


Photo © Danielle Voirin 2013

Annik La Farge gives custom lectures on the High Line and the neighborhood it traverses, using hundreds of photographs -- archival photos and maps as well as contemporary images, including many rooftop and aerial photos -- to illustrate her talks. 

All lectures include a general introduction to the High Line, which begins in the 1830s when the first railroads came to New York. Subjects include:

Robert Moses' West Side Improvement Project: this gigantic project finally provided a solution to the problem of "Death Avenue" by creating the elevated freight railroad known as the High Line.

"The Lifeline of New York": the history of Manhattan's 19th century open-air farmer's markets near Gansevoort Street, and the High Line's crucial role in the 20th century in providing a commercial freight link that brought food from virtually every state in the country to New York City.

The Marriage of River and Rail: how the great Hudson River port and the railroad that ran parallel to it enabled New York City to become "the mistress of the commerce of the world." 

 The innovative design of the High Line: how the landscape architects and horticultural team incorporated and paid tribute to the railroad's history in the park's design.

Joel Sternfeld and the essential role of photography: how landscape photographer Joel Sternfeld's images, taken over the course of a year, helped define the vision that would guide and inform the park's design.

Horticulture on the High Line: the philosophy of plant design that guided Piet Oudolf, the Dutch plantsman who created the park's horticultural plan.

The neighborhood's rich past: the cultural, industrial and manufacturing history of West Chelsea and the West Village from the Industrial Revolution to the present.


The Hudson River's "Lighterage System": the little-known but fascinating network of railroad barges or "car floats" and terminal freight warehouses, including the Starrett-Lehigh Building, that empowered commerce along the West Side of Manhattan and whose remnants can still be seen in architecture and monuments around the High Line.

Custom presentations: depending on the interests of a group, topics and images can be customized to include specific historical events; the High Line's impact on other urban greenway projects around the world; how the Promenade Plantée in Paris inspired the High Line; public art and community engagement; why and how the High Line became such a successful and influential place; and more.

In addition to lectures and speaking events, La Farge also conducts walking tours for Friends of the High Line as well as for private groups. Recent lectures & walking tours have been specially prepared for librarians, booksellers, teachers, community groups, schools, media, and businesses. To inquire about lectures or to arrange a private walking tour, please use the contact form on this website.  


THE AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS: Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 PM, in Paris

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The American Library in Paris
10, rue du Général Camou, 75007 Paris, France
"On the High Line: A Walk Through New York's Paris-Inspired Park"
More details at AmericanLibraryinParis.org


ON THE HIGH LINE: Wednesday, July  11, 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Join Rick Darke and Annik La Farge on a special walking tour of the High Line. Learn about the past, present and future of the High Line's multilayered landscape. As we walk we’ll talk about the history of the neighborhood — the railroads and port, industry, culture, architecture — and the plants and horticultural design of the park.  

Sign up at TheHighLine.org. The walk begins at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, July 11, and will last an hour. Tickets are $15 ($10 for members of Friends of the High Line); all proceeds help fund the High Line, both today and in the future. The meeting location will be provided in the confirmation email. 

To contact Rick Darke about a lecture, please visit RickDarke.com

Become a member of Friends of the High Line here.

Photo Credits:
Annik La Farge at the American Library in Paris. Photos © Danielle Voirin 2013, www.daniellevoirin.com
Aerial High Line, Tenth Avenue Square. Photo © Annik La Farge 2012
Annik La Farge & Rick Darke on the Reading Viaduct, Philadelphia. Photo: © Rick Darke 2011, www.rickdarke.com