By Aline Reynolds Tribeca Trib
Liberty Park, a one-acre elevated green space with a dramatic view of the National September 11 Memorial[,] will open early next year. Located just south of the memorial, it will also be the site of the Santiago Calatrava-designed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which replaces the modest building destroyed on September 11.
Bordered by Liberty, Cedar, West and Greenwich Streets, the park will be constructed on the roof of the World Trade Center’s Vehicle Security Center and be accessible at all four corners, with entrance ramps on the east side and stairs rising 20 feet on the west. An overlook on the northern side will provide panoramic views of the September 11 Memorial.The park, designed by landscape architect Joseph E. Brown, will provide a crossing between the Financial District and Battery Park City, but also bring some color to the grey-and-black, bunker-like security center below. Dogwoods and other ornamental trees, 18- to 35-feet tall, will change color with the seasons, and ivy will hang along the vehicle center’s concrete north facade. A “mini-garden” of trees and seating highlights the park’s eastern end and is approached at the ramp entrances.
“It’s very comforting and a great view,” said Carla Bonacci of the Port Authority’s World Trade Center Construction division, who presented the park plans last month to Community Board 1. “You’re sitting with some greenery all around you.”
There will also be a “living wall” along the northern, 300-foot long Liberty Street side, according to a description in the New York Times that was not presented at the meeting. Periwinkle, winter creeper, Baltic ivy and other plants will cover the wall.
Bonacci said the park has seating for up to 750 people, much of it located along the perimeter of planting beds.
On the western side of the park is a large seating area that the Port Authority is calling an amphitheater.
The South Bridge, which now spans West Street from Brookfield Place (the former World Financial Center), will be extended into the park.
According to the Port Authority’s Glen Guzi, also on hand to make the presentation, weddings and other church functions will take place in the plaza in front of the church, but there otherwise will be no concerts or other performance events in the park.