24 Hours in Manhattan's Winter Landscape

Mark Hough
Mark Hough's picture
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On a recent work trip to New York City, I took some extra time out to see some of the recent landscapes that have been built since I was up there last. I have been to NYC a lot, and even lived there for a while, but there is always something new for a landscape architect to see – especially lately.

I set the goal for myself to see as many places as possible – new ones and old favorites – in a 24-hour period. I was not out to experience some grand epiphany about the urban landscape but, rather, I wanted to see these places as they exist in the real world – the frigid world – and not as typically displayed in design magazines, where they are professionally photographed in full bloom and full of happy people.

So what you see next are my impressions - in sequence - of a cold, snowy Manhattan from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon – a composite view of the character, diversity and, yes, the beauty that I discovered in what is perhaps the most dynamic urban landscape in the world.

Pier 25, Hudson River Park, Tribeca

Pier 25, Hudson River Park, Tribeca

Teardrop Park, Battery Park City, Financial District

Nelson Rockefeller Park, Battery Park City, Financial District

The Esplanade, Battery Park City, Financial District

The Irish Hunger Memorial, Battery Park City, Financial District

Robert Wagner Park, Battery Park City, Financial District

The Plaza at the Ritz Carlton, Financial District

West Street Promenade, Financial District

Zuccotti Park, Financial District

Marine Midland Building Plaza, Financial District

Columbus Circle, Midtown West

Central Park at Central Park South, Midtown West

Grand Army Plaza, Midtown East

Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street

Paley Park, Midtown East

Bryant Park, Midtown

Union Square, Flatiron District

The High Line, Chelsea

The High Line, Chelsea

Chelsea Cove, Hudson River Park, Chelsea

Pier 64, Hudson River Park, Chelsea


Chelsea Waterside Park, Hudson River Park, Chelsea

8th Avenue and 52nd Street

Columbia University Campus, Morningside Heights


Riverside Park, Upper West Side


So take from this what you will. I could go on and on about what I saw - the relative, hollow emptiness of spaces typically full in better weather, the structure and power of bare trees, the palpable relationship between landscape and architecture in winter, the resurrection of a forgotten urban grittiness, and so on. But, for once, I will let the imagery do the talking and leave it be...until next month, at least.

Mark Hough, ASLA, is a landscape architect, writer and teacher. He lives in Durham, NC, where he works for Duke University.

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