The Concrete Jungle Goes Green with the Opening of the Public Square and Gardens

Public Square and Gardens NYC

The concrete jungle is getting greener on Manhattan’s West Side. The much-anticipated five-acre Public Square and Gardens, which anchors the 28-acre Hudson Yards, is slated to start opening in phases later this month. Designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, the plaza features a central viewing tower by artist Thomas Heatherwick and a sinuous 130-foot-long bench that will make for “the best people-watching in the area,” says Thomas Woltz, a principal at the firm. “It was a challenge to bring our work to a place that everyone thought was devoid of culture and ecology.” Located above an active railyard, the park also features a cooling system that protects plantings from the trains’ heat.

Due in 2024, the mixed-use development Manhattan West will be located just one block east of Public Square and Gardens and feature a two-acre landscaped plaza by James Corner Field Operations, which oversaw the design and construction of the High Line. The firm is also working on a park with Diller Scofidio + Renfro as part of the Bjarke Ingels–designed XI residential towers, which will transform a full city block between 10th and 11th avenues in West Chelsea by 2020. (Swiss landscape architect Enzo Enea is designing the residents-only interior courtyard.)

And on Pier 55 near Chelsea Market, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio, has started work on a $250 million futuristic green space that juts into the Hudson River. It’s expected to open in spring 2021.