By Tara Kyle
UNION SQUARE — The 1,200 residents of the Zeckendorf Towers already enjoy pool, gym and terrace access, but soon they will also boast the city's largest residential green roof.
The seventh floor, 14,000 square foot space, located at One Irving Place, will officially be unveiled on Wednesday. It hosts plant life, including dogwood, ferns, moss and rhododendron, and an overall aesthetic inspired by Japanese gardens.
Residents paid for the bulk of the project's $330,000 price tag ($60,000 came from a city tax credit), but they hope they'll get their money's worth through reduced future landscaping costs (the old roof, built in the 1980s, hosted potted plants). Green roofs also typically have much longer life expectancies than traditional roofs.
"The physical impact or the erosion of the water on the roof is substantially less because it's just protected," said Hazel MacMurray, a tower resident and member of the condominium homeowner's board.
Additionally, the projects engineers and designers say that one of the key benefits to the green roof will be decreased storm runoff, which can contribute to subway delays at the nearby Union Square stop.
Condo dwellers can't actually walk through the garden, due to the weight restrictions, but more than 40 percent of them will have direct views of it from their homes inside the building's four towers. The rest can see it from common spaces including the gym and terrace.
"It's great to see something change from something so barren and rigid and brick and rather cold," MacMurray said.