In this post, I would simply like to share some simple information about tulips on Park Avenue!
First of all, in my opinion, tulips on Park Avenue are one of the reasons to visit New York in April / May!
I’m quite sure every time you try to plan your next trip to New York you wonder: “when should I go this time? In the Spring? During the Christmas holidays?!
So this post will probably give you one more reason to come here in the Spring!
Before I start, I wanted to share a couple of photos directly from my Instagram account to better show you what I’m referring to!
This photo was taken with my iPhone, so probably you won’t be able to find it on my print shop since my wife wants me to keep their only photos taken with her Canon!
So, what shall you know about tulips in New York?
To start with, we need to distinguish between tulips on Park Avenue between 50th Street and 86th Street, and those instead in the Murray Hill / Kips Bay, area below 42nd Street.
After doing some research I discovered some interesting facts!
For example, trains ran up and down Park Avenue at a street level prior to 1900. The conversion from steam to electric train power ultimately made it possible for the tracks to be moved underground and wide center medians (now referred to as the malls) were created above them.
I didn’t know the spot in the photo above right in the middle of Park Avenue is called/defined as “mall”! Probably because I’m not a native English speaker, but still, good to know!
For what concerns Park Avenue midtown (meaning the part above Grand Central Terminal), the original design of the malls included fencing, grass, and simple plantings. In the 1950s, Mrs. Albert D. Lasker, an early advocate of urban beautification, began planting begonias, tulips and flowering trees on some of the malls to demonstrate to the City that plants could survive amidst all the traffic and pollution. She later convinced the Parks Department to take responsibility for their ongoing planting and maintenance.
By 1980, the malls had fallen into disrepair. The city was no longer able to continue their maintenance without support from the community. Mrs. Lasker felt strongly that her fellow citizens should contribute to the beautification of their city. With Mrs. Lasker’s encouragement, the Park Avenue Malls Planting Project, the privately-funded beautification program was created. The buildings along the rest of the avenue agreed to share the annual cost of planting and maintaining the malls, thereby forming a conservancy for the Park Avenue malls between 54th and 86th Streets that continues to this day as a program of The Fund for Park Avenue.
If you want to know more about it, I would definitely encourage you to check out their website from which I took most of this interesting information! The Fund for Park Avenue.
However, right when I was about to publish this post, I also posted another photo on Instagram mentioning tulips. A person replied to my post by sharing something very interesting
Basically, The Murray Hill Neighborhood Association is the one dedicated to preserving, beautifying and improving Murray Hill! Hence, they are the ones taking care of the flowers and the tulips for the malls in Murray Hill (basically below 42nd street).
By the way, if you’d like to make a small donation to New York Eyes by purchasing this or any other photo, that would be really appreciated! You can find my print shop here!
A few other interesting facts about tulips and New York…
In the 16th century the flowers were imported to Europe (from Turkey) by the Dutch, and sometime around the 1600s they made it over to the U.S.—in New York, they arrived around the same time as Henry Hudson.
Apparently, one of the reasons there are so many tulips in New York is the following.
Beneath that delicate exterior is a tough little spirit—tulips are integrated into the NYC landscaping plan because they have “hardy bulbs that can survive winter and bloom every spring,” NYC Parks Marechal Brown, director of horticulture said.
Last really funny fact: tulips are considered delicious by squirrels, who will dig them up and eat them! lol!
Additional interesting articles about tulips in New York: