New York City: A Study in Green

New York City. Where the buildings scrape the sky. Solid Cement. All brick and blacktop. Nothing green in the Big Apple, that’s for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Except, of course, there is.

There’s a wealth of  plants in all sorts of unexpected places. (Not to even mention Central Park, one of the most glorious greenspaces ever.) NYC is the greenest city I’ve ever seen. Parks, rooftop gardens, tree-lined streets, window boxes.

 

And then there’s the unplanned greenery.

Lurking under the pavement are uncountable billions of roots, spores, dormant seeds. Any little crack and they leap for the sun.

A deeply unsettling book came out a few years ago, called The World Without Us. The author, Alan Weisman, studied places where humans used to live but don’t anymore, like Chernobyl or the Korean DMZ. He describes what the planet would be like if humans were abruptly removed from it. Based on his research, he concludes that it would take only two to three days for changes to begin in a place like New York City.

Without pumping, the subways would flood. The foundations of the city would begin to erode.

Cracks would appear in roadways and skyscrapers. As he puts it, “Asphalt jungles would turn into real ones.”

A big weather event like Hurricane Sandy gets us realizing how impossible it is to control the natural world. How close nature really is to us.

 

Just under our feet, even in the most concrete-lined city.

The denizens of the Plant Kingdom are lurking just below us, eager to take over as soon as they get the chance…

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About unmowed

I'm a writer and a botanist who loves the weirdly weedy places of the world.
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