Post-Hurricane New York City Park and Garden Update

November 14, 2012 by

Prospect Park volunteers cleaning up after the storm. Photo via Prospect Conservancy.

Since Hurricane Sandy blew in and out, many people have asked about the city’s green areas–the parks and gardens. Many of the city’s parks and public gardens suffered great losses in the storm. The High Line appears to have weathered it pretty well, perhaps having been shielded by the surrounding buildings.

Seasonal Conservancy staff person, Holly Walton, pitches in at Central Park. Photo via Central Park Conservancy.

City Parks and Botanical Gardens
Following is just a sampling of some of the city’s major parks and gardens. Fro a complete listing, visit

Central Park
Conservancy staff currently estimates that more than 800 were destroyed or damaged by the storm. There has also been damage to the Park’s benches, fencing and ballfield equipment. Conservancy staff continues to work with twelve teams of contractors, paid for and supervised by the Conservancy, to expedite restoration of the Park.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn
We lived by Prospect Park when our son was born. The park and surrounding Brooklyn neighborhood still hold a special place in my heart. The Prospect Park Alliance reported that the damage to the park from Hurricane Sandy far exceeded what any storm has done to the Park in the 25 year history of the Park Alliance. Over 300 trees are down or so badly damaged that they will be taken down for safety, and there were over 100 hanging limbs and almost 1,000 large branches and limbs down or damaged.

Toppled tree in New York Botanical Garden’s Azalea garden. Via NYBG.

New York Botanical Garden
100 mature trees in the forest, including some of the “ancient and most magnificent” oaks, were destroyed.

Felled line of 80-year-old little-leaf lindens at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Via BBG.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Dozens of trees were affected, many of them near the western perimeter, where a line of 80-year-old little-leaf lindens was felled. A significant Chinese parasol tree was destroyed, and several large pin oaks were damaged or destroyed.

Strawberry Fields living memoria to John Lennon in Central Park. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

How to Help
NYC Service lists links to parks in each of New York City’s five boroughs.

Sign up for Go Pass, a initiative offering nonprofits a simple, easy and reliable screening process for volunteers, to help reduce costs and enhance safety and security.

Contact Green Thumb about volunteering for garden cleanups, for creating or joining a community garden, or for additional resources.


  1. Andrew Keys said:

    It’s never not heartbreaking to see mature trees fall. Sigh. I also worry about the gardens at the Battery that were swamped by salt water. I read report that they were fine, but most of the perennials were dormant, and I can’t imagine they’ll be able to assess for sure until they see what comes back next year and what doesn’t.

    — November 17, 2012 @ 09:04

  2. Robin Plaskoff Horton said:

    Yes Andrew–I think it will take some time to assess the damage…heartbreaking.

    — November 18, 2012 @ 18:05

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