Monday, July 13, 2009

Historic Street Gardening

Of course the Village was always known as being bucolic as well as literary.

Describing an early Village Salon...

Finding their place too small, the Gilders moved in the fall of 1888 to 55 Clinton Place, later renumber 13 East Eighth Street. Richard Gilder referred to it as "our new old home; for it is one of those old-fashioned New York houses in the neighborhood of Washington Square (just back of the Brevoort) which taken in and make immemorially comfortable and at home the newest comer." The Gilder's salon moved with them to Clinton Place. Their daughter, the novelist Rosamond Gilder, remembered giant wisteria that covered the facade, "filling the rooms in springtime with the r of its blossoms, and in summer with the coolness of green leaves"

Around Washington Square By Luther S. Harris
page 143

Public Space Adoption

Here's an example of a business taking on street gardening. In this case this space is in front of the Restaurant Morandi and the Bakery @ Charles and 7th Avenue South. I'm not sure who is responsible for work but they have brightened that little triangle, which I don't know the name of (I'll check and report back later).

The triangle was previously somewhat sad. The benches were usually occupied by people you might not want to sit down with. Heavy chains with warning messages and pleas for respect now adorn the flower filled pits. Also window boxes have been added to the base of the flag pole. The pole itself sports a (unauthorized) yardarm courtesy of former Parks Department Commissioner Stern.

It's not the most thoughtful planting but it's an effort.

Public Space Colonized by Local Business



General Thoughts on Street Gardens

For the concrete locked gardeners of Manhattan there exists on this island a little patch of heaven on earth – the tree pit. It offers itself up to be cultivated by the expert and neophyte alike. Nothing about it is unique but it is special. Ranging in size from 18 by 24 inches to over 2 by 3 feet. many are without their eponymous tree. Some sport ornate metal barriers others are unprotected and on grade with the sidewalk. All must withstand constant barraging by dog urine. Any that have been adopted are cherished.

The tree pit is not the be all and end all of street gardens but they are the mainstay.

We are going to examine tree pits and the people who love them.