Today I set out with several of my Intro to Greenroofs and Living Walls student to explore some non-traditional green spaces here in NYC. The tour brought us together at the NYC Dept. of Parks & Rec. 5 Boro Administration building on Randalls Island. I brought may class here last year and it was very interesting to see what had changed, what was new and what had pretty much stayed the same.
The oldest demo greenroofs built in 2008 looked very much the same to me, as did the relatively new XeriFlor.
One o the biggest changes was the tour guide. Artie couldn’t make it to he sent the very competent Rick Gordon, Resident Urban Rooftop Farmer, to lead us on a tour of the amazing learning environment. Other changes included substantial growth on some bermed up mounds in an area that was newly installed during our visit last year. A troubling change was the green wall (more like the brown wall now-a-days). It is not doing well at all as you can see below. As I understand it though a meeting with Atlantic Irrigation is scheduled for next week to try and address these issues.
The new things where plentiful and interesting indeed. Last year there where pedestals for a hydroponic towers, this year they where there, not growing yet but there all the same. Apparently they had performed well after they where installed last year. There was also a new area that had a couple solar panels installed on the greenroof. They where so new they had not been hooked up to the buildings electrical system yet. There was also an interesting area that contained some decidedly un greenroof-like plants such as rose and holly, among others. A wall mounted hydroponic system that was just getting installed by Boswyck Farms These where in coir tubes that elevated the soil level slightly and had a ring of other ornamental plants around each.
After getting an eyeful under the Triborough we headed over to Manhattan’s Lincoln Center for a look at the Illuminated Lawn, which Parks Comish Adrian Benepe has said, “[has] got to be right up there with the most unusual lawns in the world”
We then walked to the Paul Rubenstein Atrium for a peak at the two 20’x20′ living walls in there. I took my class to these spots last year and they remain interesting conversation pieces as part of the greenroof and living walls tour.
Our final destination was Fordham University, also in the Lincoln Center. This is a new discovery for me from last year and I must admit I could find little by way of history, design or construction information online. It was nevertheless a good spot as it typifies a true intensive greenroof much better than the Illumination lawn. Fordham has full size trees along with a sculpture garden, lighting and irrigation.