“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Time Landscape

Time Landscape Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, March 21, 2008
1. Time Landscape Marker
Inscription.  Landscape artist Alan Sonfist (1946-) created Time Landscape as a living monument to the forest that once blanketed Manhattan Island. He proposed the project in 1965. After extensive research on New York’s botany, geology, and history Sonfist and local community members used a palette of native trees, shrubs, wild grasses, flowers, plants, rocks and earth to plant the 25’ x 40’ rectangular plot at the northeast corner of LaGuardia Place and West Houston Street in 1978. The result of their efforts is a slowly developing forest that represents the Manhattan landscape inhabited by Native Americans and encountered by Dutch settlers ibn the early 17th century.

The surrounding neighborhood, now known as Greenwich Village, was once a marshland dotted with sandy hills that the Canarsie Indians called the Sapokanican and that the Dutch called the Zantberg. The trout-filled Minetta Brook ran to the west and made the area a favorite spot for fishing and duck hunting. Over the course of three-and-a-half centuries, agricultural, residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial development replaced the natural marshland with an urban landscape.
Time Landscape image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, November 23, 2007
2. Time Landscape
While numerous manmade features ( such as buildings and streets) preserve the history of 18th-, 19th, and 20th-century Greenwich Village, Time Landscape serves as a natural landmark of the 17th and prior centuries. This forested plot invites city-dwellers - including insects, birds, people, and other animals - to experience a bygone Manhattan.

When it was first planned, Time Landscape portrayed the three stages of forest growth from grasses to saplings to grown trees. The southern part of the plot represented the youngest stage and now has birch trees and beaked hazelnut shrubs, with a layer of wildflowers beneath. The center features a small grove of beech trees (grown from saplings transplanted from Sonfist’s favorite childhood park in the Bronx) and a woodland with red cedar, black cherry, and witch hazel above groundcover of mugwort, Virginia creeper, aster, pokeweed, and milkweed. The northern area is a mature woodland dominated by oaks, with scattered white ash and American elm trees. Among the numerous other species in this miniforest are oak, sassafras, sweetgum, and tulip trees, arrowwood and dogwood shrubs, bindweed and catbrier vines, and violets.

Time Landscape is on city-owned land, assigned to Transportation. It is maintained by Parks under Greenstreets, a program inaugurated in 1986 and reintroduced in 1994 to convert paved street properties, like
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triangles and malls, into green lawns. Funded through Parks and Recreation’s capital budget, Greenstreets plants trees and shrubs in the city’s barren street spaces. The assistance of volunteers keeps these areas clean and their plants healthy.

City of New York Parks and Recreation
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mayor
Henry J. Stern, Commissioner
April 1998
Erected 1998 by City of New York Parks and Recreation.
Location. 40° 43.621′ N, 73° 59.975′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of LaGuardia Place and West Houston Street, on the right when traveling north on LaGuardia Place. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bohemorama (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Church of Saint Alphonsus (about 500 feet away); The Bitter End (about 500 feet away); Chester Rapkin (about 600 feet away); St. Anthony of Padua Church (about 600 feet away); Chaim Gross (1904-1991) (about 600 feet away); The Varèse House (about 600 feet away); 109 Prince Street (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
Also see . . .  Time Landscape on Wikipedia. (Submitted on October 12, 2019, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
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Categories. Colonial EraHorticulture & ForestryParks & Recreational Areas

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Credits. This page was last revised on October 12, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 48 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.
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