Park Avenue South Median Planting Design

New York, New York

After nearly twenty years of struggling trees and plants fighting for survival within Park Avenue South’s center median’s challenging growing conditions, neighborhood landlords, business leaders and NYC Parks Department took action to bring back the “park” in Park Avenue. HMWhite was retained by a private/public partnership, headed by ORDA Management, to develop an urban forestry master plan to renovate the Avenue median from Union Square to 21st Street. Design and technical investigations began with soil testing and analysis. Results confirmed that wholesale soil profile replacement was paramount before any other planting investment was initiated.

Inspired by the landscape design principles of European urban boulevards, the visual and spatial dynamism of a tightly spaced and continuous row of tall trees, stretching more than 7 blocks, would effectively register within the confines of the Avenue’s street walls. Pollution tolerant columnar Sweet Gum trees fit the median’s spatial constraints and offered the desired towering form to visually measure up to the scale of the immediate urban context. Seasonal testing and an organic feeding program were built-in to the project's operational protocol to continuously uphold ideal soil structural and biomass specifications. A minimalist, low growing groundcover plant matrix of high seasonal performance and new metal planter panels, complete the streetscape transformation revitalizing the neighborhood in immeasurable ways.

ORDA Management
NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Design Team
Landscape Architect: HMWhite
Private Sponsor: ORDA Management
Public Sponsors: Union Square Partnership, NYC DPR
Arborist/Foodweb Soil Specialist: James Sottilo – ELM
Landscape Contractor: Steven Dubner Landscaping

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