Snow Sculptors With a Flair for the Creative Flock to the High Line

There were rats and dinosaurs, a life size caterpillar, several octopi, the Holland Tunnel, the Empire State Building and your standard snowman at Chelsea’s first High Line snowman competition on Thursday. There were 14 teams with builders ranging in ages from toddlers to professionals in their 30s.

Gabriel Willov, 31, a biologist and educator, said the dragon with icicles for teeth and Oreo cookies for eyes was the first idea for a snow creation that he had when he heard about the contest. He and his two roommates from Brooklyn helped sculpt the beast.

Giddy children stopped to stare and Willov told them the dragon comes from the “ferocious deadly trains that used to be here,” which is why, he told them, the High Line was built in the first place.

High Line judges gave the builders 1-1/2 hours to work on their sculptures, offering carrots, Oreos, raisins, warm gloves and High Line pins to use as props.

Judges then did a tour of the 14 competitors' creations and graded based on creativity and innovation, structural quality and how well it fits into the High Line.

Willov and his two roommates’ dragon took first place.

The second place winners, sisters Mica Yoder, 16, and younger sister, Noa, built several small snow rats, inspired by New York's infamous rodent: “We situated them by the trash can, where rats would be,” Mica said.

The environment was ideal for the competition after 19 inches of fresh snow fell on the city overnight Thursday.

“We asked the gardeners not to shovel as much as they usually do,” said Danya Sherman, 26, deputy director of programs and education at the High Line

The High Line hopes to make this an annual event.

Chandler Zausuer, 13 from Manhattan with his High Line snowman

( Stephen Nessen )

Gabriel Willov, 31, (left) and Rav Kottanasu, 30, building their snow dragon. It took first place at the first High Line snow man competition.

( Stephen Nessen )

Gabriel Willov, 31, Rav Kottanasu, 30 and Rebecca Pappas, 30, built a snow dragon at the High Line.

( Stephen Nessen )

Mica and Noa Yoder sculpting their snow rats.

( Stephen Nessen )

Finished snow rats perched on the High Line. They won second place.

( Stephen Nessen )

Finished snow rats perched on the High Line. They won second place.

( Stephen Nessen )

NYU film students working on a dinosaur at the High Line snowman competition.

( Stephen Nessen )

Completed snow dinosaur.

( Stephen Nessen )

Octopus overlooking the Hudson River on the High Line.

( Stephen Nessen )

The completed Octopus, which won third place.

( Stephen Nessen )

Jared Castillo with his snowman

( Stephen Nessen )

Carrots, raisins and Oreos, among other props available in the High Line snowman competition.

( Stephen Nessen )

Working on the Empire State Building.

( Stephen Nessen )

Finished Empire State Building.

( Stephen Nessen )
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