• Designer: Marie Salembier
  • Team: Marie Salembier, W Architecture
  • Client: Vornado Realty Trust
  • Size: 10 Acres

Marie was the planting designer for the site surrounding Penn Station, one of the busiest plazas in NYC. For a few months, the space was given over to pedestrians. Plaza 33, a temporary pilot project, was designed and implemented in six weeks. The design responds to the existing challenges of the street. The surface of the street and the sidewalks were painted in the same gray and white pattern to unify the space. The layout of the new planters, bleachers and sculptures carefully allowed for the high volume of pedestrian through traffic,. while also offering places to get out of the flow and people watch, eat lunch or just gather with friends. The main bleacher element is multi-functional, incorporating areas for a stage, and for seating, viewing, and planting. Its height screens the loading docks at Madison Square Garden, and allows for views to Seventh Avenue’s illuminated signage and beyond to the Empire State Building. The seasonal planting palette for the modular planters were designed to soften the appearance and feel of the Plaza 33, while being fun, airy, colorful, and even prairie-like in the Summer. Using meadow plants facilitates maintenance as they require minimum watering and care. Native species were selected to attract birds and pollinators recreating a truly living and healthy oasis in an extreme urbanized location.