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BY ALIZA CHASAN |
More than three years later, Superstorm Sandy is still causing damage Downtown. The storm’s latest victims were the trees and shrubs of Silverstein Family Park in front of 7 World Trade Center, which were ripped out earlier this month after the salty storm surge killed their roots.
Silverstein Properties cut down the dying trees and ripped out all the stumps and shrubs over the past week to prepare for a major replanting in the spring. In the meantime, the developer will be replacing the park’s lighting and irrigation system as well, as part of a $1-million renovation, according to Silverstein spokesman Dara McQuillan.
“We’re putting so much effort into making the park a special place,” McQuillan said. More than 10,000 trees citywide were damaged by saltwater during the storm over three years ago, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
McQuillan said the park will receive a shipment in April of 36 Aristocrat pear trees from New Jersey, which blossom with white flowers in the spring, and are known for being tolerant of salt damage and urban stress.
The developer will also plant more than 200 azalea bushes and 600 flowering plants of various species, selected to be disease resistant, according to McQuillan. The 5,000-square-foot park between Greenwich St. and West Broadway — which features the distinctive, bright red Balloon Flower sculpture by Jeff Koons — is on land once occupied by the original 7 World Trade Center building.
The new building’s narrower design, which cost it about 300,000 square feet of office space, left room for a park designed as a gateway to the new World Trade Center complex. Silverstein Family Park, which opened in May of 2006 along with the new 7 World Trade Center, was the first public space at the new complex.
“It’s a park that I think most members of the community would agree is an important feature not just of Downtown, but of 7 World Trade Center as well,” McQuillan said.