Revitalized Spring Street Park by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA) announces the completion of New York’s Spring Street Park, a project for the Hudson Square Business Improvement District (BID) and the City of New York, which officially opened on Thursday, October 25. Located on Sixth Avenue between Spring and Broome streets, the half-acre, 25,152-square-foot park is a component of the Hudson Square BID’s Streetscape Master Plan. The plan transforms the public realm within this 60-acre district, which has evolved from industrial use to a mixed-use hub for creative industries, now comprising a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable network of spaces.

Spring Street Park converts a triangular “green street” open space into a welcoming and dynamic gathering place for the public. A community oasis that accommodates a variety of activities for workers, residents, and visitors alike, it offers comfortable lunchtime seating and offers the potential for future programming. Additionally, it demonstrates a strong underpinning of environmental performance through stormwater capture, tree health, biomass production, dark-sky protection, and traffic calming.

The project is a public-private partnership of the Hudson Square Business Improvement District and the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, with 50% of the funding from the BID, and the other 50% from the City. The space will be managed by the BID. Spring Street Park is a paradigm of how public-private partnerships can play a crucial role in improving the city’s public spaces.

MNLA’s plans for the space incorporate suggestions from a community input process that began in June 2015. The resulting design:

  • Increases the site’s permeable surface from 7.5% to 35% and, in turn, increases the site’s ability to capture stormwater from 7.5% up to 87%, relieving the City’s overburdened sewer system and mitigating flooding in the area.
  • Increases the number of healthy trees on the site from 36 to 42. The trees along Sixth Avenue and Spring Street are planted or retrofitted using the “Hudson Square Standard” (HSS), an advance in urban forestry that increases stormwater capture and vastly improves tree health. This regimen includes expanded tree pits, tree guards, and permeable pavement over structural soil.
  • Features distinctive, energy-efficient lighting that provides a safe, inviting atmosphere during the day and night.
  • Adds moveable chairs, and tables, 24 benches, and 21 swivel chairs to the park.
  • Includes a water fountain and 4 solar-powered compactors for waste and recycling.

The park’s comprehensive design takes its cue from patterning inspired by the adjacent Butterick Building, which once manufactured ladies’ dress patterns and uses industrial materials to recall the area’s early 20th-century printing buildings. Plantings respect the alternating shade and sunlit areas created by the mature existing tree canopy. The elegant cathedral-like quality of the Sixth Avenue sidewalk has been restored and reinforced, creating a unique condition for pedestrians traveling north and south. Ample openings allow pedestrians to wander into the park between the planters to find spaces to rest. The park’s statue of General Jose Artigas, often called “the father of Uruguayan nationhood,” has been repositioned to be a focal point at the intersection with Dominick Street.

“The reconstruction of the Spring Street Park was a labor of love for this community and a quality of life enhancement,” said DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Edward Pincar Jr. “This park, now fully lit, will act as a focal point for this neighborhood, where residents can sit, eat, enjoy, and immersive themselves in the historic culture this community has to offer. As an agency founded on safety, we were happy to be a part of this process and would like to thank the Hudson Square BID and the Parks Department for working to transform this park into a safe, pedestrian friendly space.”


Spring Street Park

Landscape Architect | MNLA (Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects)
Image Credit | Elizabeth Felicella

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at