Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXV, Number 5242
Tuesday, Jul 20, 2010

Green Roof Expansion At 5-Boro Complex

Parks has recently installed two new planting systems on 5-Boro’s green roof at Randall’s Island. With an additional 10,000 square feet, the green roof now totals a sprawling 26,000 square feet. 5-Boro now boasts a 4,000 square foot vegetable garden as well as an additional 6,000 square feet of Xero-Flor® system. With the new systems in place, 5-Boro’s green roof is home to 21 uniquely designed landscapes. Led by Chief of Technical Services Artie Rollins and senior project managers John Robilotti and Rick Gordon the new systems have not only garnered national interest, but have recently gained much international notoriety with visitors from England, France, Ukraine and the Netherlands.

Installation of the vegetable garden was a collaborative effort involving the Agency’s Weatherization group, Million Trees volunteering, Green Apple Corps and FedEx’s Energy Smart Outreach program. The soil used for the garden is a custom mix comprised of mineral soil, sterile compost, and pearlite. With the intention of maximizing space for planting while maintaining easy access for gardening, the garden was designed and installed with 10 rows of growing soil, 6 feet wide by 50 feet long, separated by 2 ½ foot mulch walkways. The new garden contains a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, string beans, broccoli, corn, lettuce, cucumbers, eggplant and mixed herbs. Pending on the volume of vegetables harvested, it is planned to be donated to a local food bank at the end of the year.

Following on the success of the first Xero-Flor® system installed in May 2009, a second system was installed this June. The Green Apple Corp was able to fund this second system through a federal grant. Installation was again a collaborative effort by the Agency’s Weatherization Crew, Million Trees Volunteers, GreenApple Corps and Parks’ summer interns. The newly installed Xero-Flor® system is similar to the first one, with the exception of an upgrade to the system’s base layers. An additional one inch of mineral soil was incorporated directly below the sedum mats. “It will be interesting to observe the potential differences between the two Xero-Flor® systems as they mature,” Robilotti says.

Carrying on New York City’s PlaNYC sustainability initiatives, Parks has continued to expand its environmentally friendly and energy efficient green roofs. The recent additions of the new roofing systems have continued the transformation of conventional roof space into beneficial and attractive ecological and recreational areas.

Feel free to come by and check it out!


On July 19, Manhattan Parks Commissioner Bill Castro, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Minetta Block Association Board Member Pari Dulac, Community Board 2 Parks Committee Chair Toby Bergman and community officials broke ground on much needed renovations to Minetta Playground. Funds for the renovations totaling $1,537,000 were allocated by both the City Council ($937,000) and the Mayor’s office ($600,000). The construction is projected to be complete within one year.

“Today, under the beautiful canopy of these old oaks and sycamores, we break ground on a new Minetta Playground,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “The inspiration for the new playground can be found in the site’s history, which was once home to a brook used by the Native Americans, early Dutch settlers, and freed African slaves. Thanks to generous funding allocations from Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg, planned renovations include modern play equipment, swings, a bike rack and much more. The new playground will be a safer, more accessible place for kids amidst the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood.”

“The Minetta Playground has been an eye-sore for the families in one of Manhattan’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “With the ambitious redesign we begin today, I’m pleased to say this playground will soon reflect the distinctive tastes and personality of the neighborhood and provide a safer environment ripe for the enjoyment for all of New York’s kids.”

The plan includes removal of the existing storage building, upgrades to lighting fixtures, and the use of open play structures to increase visibility and safety in the playground. Modern play equipment, swings, a spray shower, new safety surfaces, a play house, a deck pathway, decorative pavements, new benches, game tables, fencing, a bicycle rack, a new drinking fountain and a storm drainage system will all be installed. The new play equipment and site features will comply with current ADA requirements and playground safety standards.


“I had to live in the desert before I could understand the full value of grass in a green ditch.”

Ella Maillart
(1903 – 1997)

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