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.
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.”
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.”
“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.
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.