Madison Square is in peak bloom and here’s what Conservancy President, Debbie Landau, has to say about springtime in the park and our upcoming season of programming.
What is your favorite time of year in the Park? Why?
Spring is a very special time of the year. The park is waking up from its winter hibernation and more people begin coming out to catch sun on the park benches. And, of course, the Hellebores start peeking out and we know the renewal of plant life is just around the corner. It’s fun to see the delight on people’s faces as they take in the amazing horticultural display that comes with each early spring.
This spring, in particular, is the most vivid I can ever remember probably because of the unseasonably warm winter. There seems to be a symphony of blooms this year with tulips, daffodils, magnolias, hyacinth, viburnum and more all out at once – it’s a remarkable moment.
There are so many great programs in the park such as Mad. Sq. Kids, Mad. Sq. Music and Mad. Sq. Art. Is it your goal to keep the park active?
The Madison Square Park Conservancy’s mission, which was created in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, states that we are dedicated to keeping historic Madison Square Park a bright, beautiful and active public park. Through raising funds, the Conservancy is able to accomplish our mission by providing for our lush and brilliant horticulture, park maintenance, park security and a variety of free cultural programs. One thing I’ve learned from working in parks for several decades is that keeping a park busy with programming is also a good way to keep it safe.
Mad. Sq. Art’s next Exhibit is opening on May 2, can you tell us a little about it?
Charles Long’s Pet Sounds will enliven the Park this summer with a sprawling network of brightly colored railings and the artist’s well-known biomorphic “blobs.” We are excited that Pet Sounds will allow our visitors to engage with the work directly, and it will give the Mad. Sq. Art audience the opportunity to see and experience Charles Long’s work on a grand scale. MSPC is thrilled to bring Pet Sounds to Madison Square Park.
When can we expect to hear the lineup for 2012 programs?
As e-news subscribers, you’ll get the first peak of our 2012 summer line-up, and there are some terrific performances in the mix. Stay tuned for the announcement in the beginning of May.
What is the recipe to keep the Park beautiful and pristine?
The Conservancy has an incredible team of maintenance staff and gardeners who are the front line of making sure the park is clean and green. Whether it’s raining or 90 degrees (as it was earlier this week), you’ll see our team is always out keeping Mad. Sq. looking its best. Please don’t hesitate when you see one of our staff members to thank them for all of their hard work.
Do you spend much time in the Park?
I spend a lot of time in the park, particularly as the weather improves and more park users come to enjoy. It is an opportunity for me to see so many people who use the park and who can share feedback and comments about their experience. Also, if you spend enough time, you get to know all of the dogs by name!
How long has the Conservancy been around?
We began to plan for the Madison Square Park Conservancy early in 2002 and the organization formed in the fall of 2002. Which makes this MSPC’s ten year anniversary!
Has the progress made in the Park lived up to your goals?
Yes, it sure is exceeding any vision I had for the park 10 years ago. The plantings have matured and our horticulture is varied and brilliant in color. The free programs we provide just get better and better.
What are some of your present goals for the Park?
I am always having new ideas for the park, but the number one goal is to make it as beautiful as it can be for the public.
Is there a milestone in the development of the New MSP that is particularly important to you?
I think it would have to be the ribbon cutting ceremony in June of 2001 marking the success of the campaign to renovate Madison Square. It was an amazing experience to share with all those who had participated and the public who had observed the transformation of the park.
It is amazing in those 11 years, how lush the park has gotten and how many people now use the park.