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Trees of Hudson River Park

Trees are vital…

…. to healthy landscapes, especially in our urban park setting. Trees draw the eye up to the sky, offer shade and seasonal blooms and provide us with a spectacular color-changing show in autumn.

Our Horticulture staff has perfected the art of growing trees on piers – see graph: Turning a Pier Into a Park. And thanks to their continual efforts, trees in our urban landscape transport us from a world of concrete and glass and bring nature to New York City.

Trees Help Us Breathe

There are roughly 2,000 trees planted in Hudson River Park — from the nearly 90-year-old London plane trees at the southern portion of Chelsea Waterside to the newest Ginkgo trees planted in 2019 just north of West 34th Street. By filtering air pollution, absorbing rainwater and helping to keep pollutants out of the Hudson River, our trees create a greener city for us all.

New York Trees are Tough

HRPK trees are selected for their toughness, resilience and their ability to withstand high winds and salt spray from the Hudson River. The most common trees in the Park — honey locusts — have proven to be nearly indestructible given the right care. Birches, tupelo, oaks and Japanese zelcova are all planted here because of their ability to co-exist with humans in the urban landscape. Evergreens, such as pines, cedars, hemlocks and hollies, offer year-round beauty and cover for wildlife that live in the park.

Here are 12 of the favorite trees selected by the HRPK Horticulture staff:

The Canada Red Chokecherry trees are bush like with numerous small branches sprouting reddish green oval leaves

This tree’s purple foliage provides striking color to the Boardwalk’s native grassland landscaping throughout the growing season…

The red and brown smoketree has small branches and bush like structure

With their purple foliage and flowers, the Royal Purple smoketrees create a stunning hedge from spring to fall…

The branches of the dawn redwood are filled with green leaves that stretch diagonally

On the Pier 84 lawn in Hudson River Park, you'll find the Park’s tallest tree, a 55 ft. Dawn redwood…

The deodar cedar is a fir tree, with green pine needles

Considered by tree lovers to be the most graceful of cedars, the deodar cedar can be found in the Park’s Chelsea section…

The Crabapple trees in Hudson River Park have a vibrant red and pink blossom that spreads over many branches

Come spring, when in full flower, crabapples put on a beautiful display that is rarely matched by other trees…

Honey Locust full of green leaves in Hudson River Park

275+ honey locust trees grow in Hudson River Park, making this the Park’s most ubiquitous tree species…

The Japanese Zelcova tree reaches up rather than out with its branches heading towards the sky

The second most planted tree in Hudson River Park, Japanese zelkova, was similarly chosen for its tolerance of the harsh environmental conditions…

The London Plane Trees have a huge mass of green leaves providing an abundance of shade

Originally planted in the 1930s, the London plane trees located in Chelsea Waterside Park are the oldest trees in the HRPK.

The Maidenhare Trees, also known as Ginkgo biloba are a smallish tree with fan shaped green leaves

HRPK’s Ginkgo trees are among the most easily identifiable trees in the Park because of their distinctive, fan-shaped leaves….

The crapemyrtle trees in Hudson River Park are full of green leaves and provide a lot of shade

These trees are beautiful year-round, featuring large white flowers during the summer months and cinnamon exfoliating brown bark that provides ornamental interest throughout the year...

The Star Magnolia tree has a multitude of green leaves that create a dome like outline of the tree

The star magnolia in Chelsea Waterside Park and Greenwich Village give Park visitors a striking display of white, star-like flowers in spring…

White fringe tree blossoms

This small but graceful tree can be found in several areas of the Park, from the southern end of Tribeca to the most northern part of HRPK in Clinton Cove.