Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village was originally constructed in 1947 as a haven for WWII vets returning home. Built with the intention of housing families in a quiet, peaceful environment, flowers, grass, and trees were a significant part of the vision. Many of those trees planted almost 70 years ago still stand today, healthy as ever and providing shade and fresh air to 2016 New Yorkers just as they did for the vets and their families. Though many of those trees maintain their vitality at a ripe old age, not all of the original plantings have been so lucky.
Over the last decade, the property has lost a significant number trees due to old age, attrition, and extreme weather conditions. Hurricane Sandy, in particular, flooded many of the trees’ roots with saltwater or irreparably damaged them with high winds. In the years since, the Horticulture and Landscaping team at Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village have studied what trees thrive in an urban environment and have developed best practices for sustaining the many trees on property. After years of research and consultations with Arborists, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village has undertaken an initiative to replace the fallen trees with hardier species every day in June, otherwise known as “30 Trees in 30 Days.”
Using the knowledge collected by Chuck Hartsell, the Director of Horticulture and Landscaping at StuyTown, 30 trees of various species were selected for planting. The perimeter of the property on 1st Avenue, teeming with pedestrians, will have city-approved street tree varieties that have high canopies so as not to interfere with the passersby. For the interior of the 80 acre property, Chuck and his team will be planting (among many others) European Hornbeams, a resilient tree with a wonderful column-like shape, as well as Tupelos, selected as a preferred species as they offer gorgeous fall foliage. Other species which fit the bill include Japanese Lilacs which offer a lovely scent in the spring, Japanese Zelkovas, a hardy deciduous tree in the elm family, and Larches, an elegant variety of semi-evergreens with a statuesque form and soft pine needles. Some of the species currently being planted are familiar to residents as they were part of the original 1947 crop. These include Horse Chestnuts, Dogwoods, and others.
For the largest NYC “arboretum” outside of Central Park, check out these species and many others at Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village. With all of these trees, young and old, you can breathe a little easier. Learn more at www.stuytown.com.