2021 in Madison Square Park
2021 in Madison Square Park
As we close out this year, please join Madison Square Park Conservancy in reflecting on the great range of special moments that happened in the park.
As we know, public space is essential to our neighbors and communities. We are grateful to our team who worked hard to increase lawn access and outdoor seating. They also converted Cherry Lawn to a temporary dog run while Jemmy’s Dog Run is under construction until Spring of 2022.
The Conservancy’s art program brought powerful work to Madison Square Park. Abigail DeVille’s Light of Freedom responded to history, the pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and political turmoil. The project traveled to The Momentary at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and is now on view outdoors at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. This summer, we had the honor of realizing Maya Lin’s Ghost Forest on the Oval Lawn along with numerous programs to support this exhibition. They highlighted the devastation and impact of climate change and how we as a community need to work together to take action through nature-based solutions. A partnership with Natural Areas Conservancy culminated in planting 1,000 trees and shrubs in five public parks across the five boroughs.
Horticulture in Madison Square Park sustained thousands of visitors during a challenging period. The stunning Garden Jewels exhibition of 8,000 spring blooming tulips was followed by a Plants of the Pine Barrens exhibition which spread awareness of the importance and impact of reviving native plants.
The Conservancy took action through sustainability by launching our own initiative earlier this year. As part of that launch, we introduced an ecology program and shared how tracking wildlife in our park is key to a healthy ecosystem. We organized a park-by-park competition around the City Nature Challenge where 19 NYC greenspaces participated. Together, the greenspaces collected 7,532 observations of 932 species. We also hosted BioBlitz events for Pollinator Week and Parks for Pollinators and revamped the park’s five bee homes. Additionally, we published the first of a three guide series Guide to Restoring Native Plants. As of November 2021, we have a food scrap drop-off in the park every Wednesday, making it easier for our neighbors to compost their food waste.
Our public programs were back up and running. There were Art Talks, Letters to the Trees, a plant giveaway, Leaf fest, our annual art symposium which focused on artists and thought leaders who work with land and the environment. In November, our third annual horticulture symposium brought experts together to discuss restoring the urban jungle.
This year, our park’s Tree Museum was also upgraded to a Level 2 Arboretum and we released our Horticulture Witch Hazel Collection Guide.
We hosted the first-ever A Taste of Asia in NYC in the park. This fundraiser brought NYC together for an evening of delicious food to honor our city’s AAPI communities. We raised over $1.1 million to further the mission of Madison Square Park Conservancy and our partner organizations, City Harvest and Apex for Youth.
We gained new Mad. Friends members, Art Council members, and horticulture volunteers. With the help of our generous community, we completed an $8 million capital campaign that has allowed us to restore the base of the William Henry Seward monument, renovate Jemmy’s Dog Run, and bring future projects to fruition such as a new park house and electrical improvements throughout the park.
We are so thankful to all of the friends who participated in everything that Madison Square Park has to offer. To all those that created, donated, volunteered, and supported…thank you.
Looking forward to a healthy, happy, and exciting 2022.