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Then & Now: The birches of Astor Place

Image: Birches, Astor Place subway plaza, July 2013

Image: Birches, Astor Place subway plaza, October 2013

The birch trees growing in the subway plaza at Astor Place were removed to make way for a redesigned Astor Place and Cooper Square.  EV Grieve reported on the tree removal here and here.  The design proposal by WXY Architecture was covered by Curbed NY.


Steve Whitehead said…
I'm assuming you're writing from up in NYC, which is funny because my niece just moved there about 6 months ago to work in Manhattan. I have a good idea of where this is since I've been up there a few times, but it's often a shame that they would cut down such a great looking strip of trees to make room for some road improvements. There had always been an urban clash between people and trees, but sometimes I don't understand the benefits of cutting them down.

What do you think of the new design?
local ecologist said…
I like the idea of expanding tree canopy coverage in Astor Place because currently the tree coverage:built area ratio is low. However, I haven't seen the rationale for the removal of the birches. Presumably they could have been incorporated into the design.

Thank you for following the blog, Steve!
Dbsmith260 said…
I was sorry to recently find the beautiful birches gone. Couldn't they at least have been dug up and planted elsewhere? At least, I think the new design looks really good and more trees will be great. We need all the trees we can get in this city. I agree it's too bad the birches couldn't have been incorporated in the new design.
Billy Roberts said…
I was just a landscape architecture student at UGA the summer when I worked restoring Central Park and a rich influential woman asked for trees at Astor Place - we finally decided on River Birch and I drew up the plans not knowing that what I drew would come to fruition. I am so sad that they removed the trees as it was such a landmark achievement that concrete was removed for such a small green space. I am happy that the trees were loved and enjoyed by many while they were there.