LOWER MANHATTAN -- For most, “pretty” would be the last word you would use to describe your run-of-the-mill NYC parking garage. This garage, however, is a gem.
Located 25-feet above ground, atop the roof of the World Trade Center Vehicular Security Center, Liberty Park offers a touch of earth amid a concrete jungle.
“It’s a gift back to the community,” Steven Plate said. “It’s a gift back to New York City.”
Plate, the chief of major capital projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has been on the site since the beginning.
The 1-acre park that’s boarded by Liberty, West, Cedar and Greenwich streets, brings a sense of calm and peace to a site that carries an indisputable scar 15 years later.
“If you look at the location its one of the best kept secrets at the World Trade Center,” Plate told reporters during a park walk-thru Tuesday morning. “In the sense that you can come up here and look along the perimeter and look out onto the memorial plazas.”
The $50 million green space features a tiered stadium-styled seating plan, 19 planters and a Living Wall – a vertical landscape planting system that masks the walls of the premises.
“There’s 22,000 plantings that make up this entire wall,” he explained.
“At first it looks pretty simple but truly it’s a planting that’s gone for some time.”
A sapling – one of just eleven in the world – taken from a Chestnut tree outside Anne Frank’s home in the Netherlands also calls the park home.
“She used to look at this tree through her attic window, peering out is the only joy and happiness and reassurance and security she had,” Plate explained.
As the park gets ready to open, its setting the backdrop for the Saint Nicholas National Shrine which will replace the Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church that once stood along Cedar Street before being destroyed by the collapse of the South Tower on Sept. 11 2001.
Unlike its very tall neighbor – 1 WTC – access to Liberty Park is free and after its grand opening on Wednesday it will be open starting at 6a to 11p daily.
For more information, visit the WTC site.