The Unsung Horticulturalist of New York

Angelito Jusay

There is a line running through the Central Park Conservancy Gardens, the flowers and lush greenery at Gracie Mansion, the winter evergreen installations at Herald and Greeley Square Parks, and the spectacular flower treatments at Bryant Park in front of the New York Public Library. They all bring beauty and a softening effect to New York City’s streetscape, and they all bear the signature of Maureen Hackett, the Director of Horticulture at Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership. 

As an excellent recent article by Andrew Thomas in the Epoch Times reveals, Ms. Hackett has had a fantastic career of making pockets of the city more livable and breathable. The article traces the path of that career: bringing seemingly dead plants outside her house at Oregon State University to life, working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Virgin Islands, serving as head gardener at Central Park Conservancy Gardens, creating a new horticulture treatment at the grounds outside Gracie Mansion, and joining Bryant Park and 34th Street in 1995.

One could say that her career had inexorably led to that moment: “The job was almost custom made for me in some ways, because it was a combination of public and private needs and organizations,” she said. If you have ever wondered just how Bryant Park stays so lush and rich with color, season in and season out, we urge you to read the article.