HUDSON SQUARE, Manhattan (PIX11) — Trees are breathing new life into the Hudson Square community in Manhattan. Each tree you see there is part of a first-of-its-kind urban forestry initiative to improve the look of the once printing district turned creative hub.

“Our mission is to make this unique neighborhood a place for the people that work here. We want to activate the streets to match the creative tenets that live in the buildings above,” said Suzy Changar, vice president of marketing and communication for the Hudson Square Business Improvement District.

The nonprofit teamed up with NYC Parks Tree Time to launch Hudson Square Standard in 2013. Their mission is to provide a holistic approach that serves the community.

“When we first came in, it was a very gray neighborhood. There weren’t a lot of trees and we thought what an immediate impact trees can have on the sanity of people that work here,” Changar said.

The initiative just reached an important milestone, and volunteers from the area were out in full force to do their part and celebrate the occasion.

“We have planted or retrofitted every possible tree in the neighborhood and we’re really proud that we just planted our 500th,” Changar said.

“This happens to be Citizenship Day at Edelman around the world for us, but especially here in New York, so we have Edelman volunteers tending to many of the 500 trees that have been planted here,” said Oscar Suris, president of Edelman New York.

That means tending to the soil, repainting the tree guards and making sure trees are in good shape. 

The real science of the trees happens beneath them. The soil is made to absorb water to reduce runoff so there’s less flooding and also maintains the health of the tree.

“Our tree pit treatment allows our trees to grow larger and healthier, and we’ve seen benefits like we can capture eight Olympic-size pools of water every year,” Changar said.

In addition to improving the aesthetics of the neighborhood, these trees also produce cleaner air by producing oxygen. In fact, they capture carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to two days worth of Holland Tunnel traffic, according to Changar.