damrosch plan 2
A plan proposed for Damrosch Park by Lincoln Center and the Parks Department. Click to enlarge.

By Jaclyn Anglis

Signe Nielsen, a consultant on horticultural design for Lincoln Center, presented a plan on Monday night at a Community Board parks committee meeting for Damrosch Park, the park in Lincoln Center that has held events like Fashion Week and the Big Apple circus.

A group of neighbors settled a lawsuit with the city last year allowing the park to be restored to community use and booting Fashion Week from the space (other events will still be held there). As part of the settlement, the city and Lincoln Center agreed to plant new trees and other plants in the park — 56 trees had previously been cut down — critics contend that the city cut them down to make way for the events, while the city and Lincoln Center contend that the trees were dead or posed a health hazard.

Lincoln Center and the Parks Department have not finalized the plan yet, but they are working with Signe Nielson to bring forth the final plan by June 12. The current plan involves planting new types of trees in the space, including Zelkova, a narrow tree often used in urban environments, for the North Planter section, which is currently devoid of any plant life. By the Kiley Planter (upper right in the drawing), there is planned to be a species called Crepe Myrtle, which bloom in a bright pink color.

Additionally, there is also planned to be lighting installed, which will serve both an aesthetic and functional purpose, since it would be energy efficient. The planting is set to begin next spring, as there is a fall digging hazard for these particular species. Nothing will be finalized until they present to Lincoln Center and the Parks Department. We are awaiting a comment from Geoffrey Croft, whose parks group was a party to the lawsuit.

Correction: We initially misidentified Signe Nielsen’s role in the presentation; she was acting as a rep for Lincoln Center not in her role as a member of the Public Design Commission. We have also added more context to why the city cut down trees at the site.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 4 comments | permalink
    1. DMH says:

      No benches or seating? Really? Hope that’s added in.

      • james says:

        there’s a seating area in the southeast section of the park (lower right corner of the map) that i don’t recall in years past.

    2. T says:

      I’m a little confused by this, actually. The Public Design Commission is an approvals agency, not a design group itself. It consists of ten people, including the mayor, head of the Met Museum, etc. It was known as the Arts Commission before they successfully made a bid for more power (you have no idea how much this has screwed up the city; they literally have nothing to check/balance their influence, to the point where they’ve delayed essential repairs to major bridges for a year because they don’t like the look of a news stand, and they only meet once a month.) This should be a design through the Parks Department and/or Cultural Affairs, with PDC approval, shouldn’t it?

      • JA says:

        It was not specified at the meeting why Nielsen was presenting, but since Bill Castro, borough president of the Parks, and also members of Lincoln Center, were at the meeting, it does seem like it is a joint effort between the organizations to put the plan in place. Castro did say that Parks has been involved in the consultation and briefing of the plan, and now is more of the time to get community feedback.