Hell’s Kitchen is undergoing a botanical transformation, with 14 new flower planters installed this week. The colorful floral containers were unveiled yesterday along concrete beds that separate the bike lanes from vehicular traffic on W52nd and W53rd Streets and 9th Avenue.

(From left) Nick Guntli, senior director of The Horticultural Society of New York, HK Activist Cat Lafferty and CM Bottcher. Photo: Ariel Pacheco

They’re the work of the Horticultural Society of New York, through funding from the City Council, after consultations with Councilmember Erik Bottcher and his office over where to place them. And the profusion of plants is set to spread to 8th Avenue too! 

“It’s so important to uplift neighborhoods, beautify them, and send a message that this is a neighborhood that is cared for and loved,” said Bottcher. “Not only does it make everyone’s day a little brighter but it sends a message far and wide that this is a neighborhood that people care about. Plants also clean the air and they filter pollutants.”

Planters 9th Avenue
The flower planters were unveiled on 9th Avenue yesterday. Photo: Ariel Pacheco

The 9th Avenue redesign completed in March this year did not include any trees or flower beds, leaving the pedestrian islands in need of a natural uplift. 

“What we’re looking at is basically a strip of concrete in the middle of the road,” said Bottcher. “I think that’s a missed opportunity and the concrete is an eyesore. So we put our heads together to come up with an idea to add some greenery to these concrete islands.” 

CM Bottcher attending to the new plants on 9th Avenue. Photo: Ariel Pacheco

“Why not use infrastructure that was put here in an area where there are not as many trees?” said Nick Guntli, senior director of The Horticultural Society of New York, a non-profit organization that has been around for 120 years and helps to create greenspaces on sidewalks, public plazas and open streets. “They’re going to add something that people will feel inherently,” he added.

Each flower planter features a shrub surrounded by other plants such as chrysanthemums, salocias and pansies to create a vibrant color scheme. The containers will be watered once or twice a week, with plants switched out depending on the season.

9th Avenue Flowers
9th Avenue in bloom this week after the arrival of planters.Photo: Phil O’Brien

CM Bottcher has already shown his green credentials by promising to plant 1,000 trees, but this is a project with separate funding. In addition to the Hell’s Kitchen planters, the Horticultural Society is adding floral color to Chelsea.

Join the Conversation


  1. if it’s so important to beautify the neighborhood as Bottcher claims, then why not clean it up? It’s filthy and disgusting. And it’s dangerous. It looks worse than a third world country.

  2. These planters are beautiful! Only thing is, they’re in the wrong place. We don’t need them on those divider islands, but on either end of each block of the expanded sidewalk to ward off the very dangerous bikes and mopeds that make being a pedestrian very dangerous. This way the planters can be both beautiful and useful!

    1. Agreed Peter!

      Protected expanded sidewalk Barriers similar to 8th avenue. These same planter installed on 8th avenue at each side of each block in the expanded sideway help to curb e-bikes and mopeds from riding the incorrect or even correct direction

    2. Exactly ^^^^, they are misplaced. Also, we need trees and shade! But thanks, it’s a start.

    3. Agreed! I actually made that comment to the woman who was planting the flowers in the tree bed. At least on 8th Ave you have less e-bikes, bikes, etc whizzing by you as ur walking on the PEDESTRIAN area. I’ve bent down to pick something up & had bikes go right past my head! Police say there’s nothing they can do. At least if the planters were blocking the expanded sidewalk, it would cut down on the issues!

  3. For some, these efforts are welcome. For some it’s never enough. And so it goes. I’m happy to see them and applaud their efforts. What have YOU done for me lately, complainers?

    1. Carter, my friend. My original comment wasn’t a complaint but a helpful suggestion to ward of inevitable pedestrian injuries. The planters are beautiful! No one (at least not me) is poo pooing the planters! xo

  4. This is great, but who’s going to water the plants? There are trees that are dying on the Ninth Ave. traffic islands because of a lack of water.

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