FINANCIAL DISTRICT — A leafy oasis is budding at the World Trade Center complex, 25 feet in the air.
Work on Liberty Park — an acre of greenery, pathways and benches, built atop an entrance to a vehicle security center — is pushing ahead towards it summer opening, the Port Authority said.
Park Level Spring Planting Continues at Liberty Park pic.twitter.com/3SafsfSbnt— WTCProgress (@WTCProgress) May 10, 2016
The park, which overlooks the 9/11 Memorial Plaza, will be home to scores of plants. More than 50 trees will dot the landscape, including a sapling descended from Anne Frank's white Horse Chestnut Tree planted earlier this week.
WTC Liberty Park landscapers transport and plant sapling of the infamous Anne Frank Horse Chestnut Tree pic.twitter.com/VZXpeedfED— WTCProgress (@WTCProgress) May 16, 2016
The special tree grew from a chestnut from the original chestnut tree that sat outside the window of the secret annex where Frank hid for two years from the Nazis in the Netherlands. Eleven other chestnut tree saplings have been planted throughout the U.S. in select locations, including the Holocaust Memorial Center and Little Rock Central High School.
"As the saplings take root, they will emerge as living monuments to Anne’s pursuit of peace and tolerance," the Sapling Project says on its website. "In the process, they will serve as powerful reminders of the horrors borne by hate and bigotry and the need for collective action in the face of injustice.'
Greenery will also cover the 25-foot-high, 300-foot-long "Living Wall" which runs along the base of the park.
The Living Wall at WTC Liberty Park pic.twitter.com/WyxWdZOizK— WTCProgress (@WTCProgress) May 13, 2016
In addition, construction projects are continuing in the park. The verdant refuge will also be home to the St. Nicholas National Shrine, a new Santiago Calatrava-designed reincarnation of St. Nicholas Church, a longtime Greek Orthodox Church that was destroyed on Sept. 11. Calatrava also designed the WTC Transportation Hub.
Rendering of Liberty Park with St. Nicholas National Shrine. (Courtesy of Santiago Calatrava Architects)
The team working on Liberty Park must create a fence around the church site, as St. Nicholas continues construction, likely until 2017.
Work also continues on an elevated walkway from Battery Park City, over the West Side Highway, that would connect to Liberty Park. A Port Authority spokesman said Brookfield Place is in the process of finishing the overpass, which will be a main access point for the park.
Here's another look at what people might be walking through this summer:
Rendering courtesy of the Port Authority.
The Port Authority declined to comment on an exact opening date.