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Big Purple Plants Some Green on Mercer Street

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Hey, NYU neighbors on Mercer Street, those trees you suddenly see around you are not a dream! What went in the ground this week between West 3rd and West 4th streets is the first batch of 22 new trees, part of a much publicized plan from landscape architect Mathews Nielsen for what's now called Mercer Plaza. A few years back the locals fought a losing battle with NYU planners over 18 mature trees?Japanese lilacs, honey locusts and Callery pears?opposite their windows. Big Purple (spoiler alert!) won the fight and then chopped down the leafy trees so they could dig deep and build a gargantuan CoGeneration Plant beneath that block. Construction is now complete, the gaping hole has been filled and it's time to re-plant the plaza.

When it comes to trees, NYU giveth and NYU taketh away. Now they're in giving mode, and the latest re-gifting started this week. The design for the public open space divides the block-long Mercer Plaza into three outdoor rooms with seating areas "that allow for quiet reflection or conversation" (but built to discourage sleeping and other undesirable activities). When complete, wood-planked surfaces will be surrounded by sloping planting beds filled with flowering shrubs and perennials. Planted throughout will be native trees?sweet gums, tulip trees, witch hazel, and others?giving shade to the area below and softening the lines of Warren Weaver Hall, the 14-story brick and glass tower that has stood beside the site since 1965. Now that this fight is nearing its end, can we all just get along? Seeing what's to come: fat chance.
· NYU Extends Olive Branch (& Other Plant Life!) to Neighbors [Curbed]
· Mercer Plaza at NYU [Mathews Nielsen]
· 251 Mercer Street Plaza - Cogeneration Plant [NYU]

251 Mercer Street New York NY