Skip to navigationSkip to content

This New York City park will be built on top of an active rail yard

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Yard work.
  • Katherine Ellen Foley
By Katherine Ellen Foley

Health and science reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The rail yards servicing New York Penn Station on Manhattan’s West Side don’t have much outdoor appeal. But soon, this area will have a public park built entirely above it.

The “Public Square,” part of the city’s massive Hudson Yards redevelopment project, is set to open in the fall of 2018 over the Eastern Rail Yard, between 10th and 11th avenues and 30th and 33rd streets. It will be built on stilt-like structures so that it doesn’t disrupt daily train service, which will continue to use the yards beneath. But this required some creative ideas from Nelson Bryd Woltz Landscape Architects, a firm hired by the private real estate developers building Hudson Yards.

Creating a robust green space will require the use of concrete at the base of shallow soil beds, in order to encourage native plants and trees to spread their roots outward instead of down. Rainwater will be collected below the park and used to irrigate the space, a network of liquid cooling tubes will ensure that the extreme temperatures generated by the trains below—sometimes up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit—don’t harm the plant life above.

The developers released this graphic showing some of the unusual features of the project.

Related Oxford
Big plans for a park.


📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.