Privately Owned Public Gardens in Midtown

Privately Owned Public Gardens in Midtown

550 Madison Avenue | Photo Credit: Barret Doherty

Sat, Sep 30, 2023
10:00 AM

Privately Owned Public Gardens in Midtown
550 and 590 Madison Avenue

Your guides: Jacqueline Martinez, Landscape Architect at Snøhetta, and Garden Conservancy President James Brayton Hall

At the landmarked 1980s tower originally designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee for AT&T, Snøhetta has this year completed an award-winning redesign of the ground level public areas (POPS) to make them more transparent, accessible, and verdant with a lavishly planted, year-round garden. Uniting the canyon-like qualities of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River Palisades, the garden’s design expresses the physical energy, vibrant color, and the social energy of Midtown. In contrast to the transformation at 550 Madison, the POPS at 590 Madison appears much the same way as it did when the transparent trapezoidal atrium was designed for the IBM headquarters in 1983 by landscape architect Robert Zion. Stands of bamboo trees filter the sunlight coming through the sawtooth glass roof and into a space that offers abundant public seating.

We are deeply grateful to the following for their sponsorship of the Garden Futures Summit.

Phil and Shelley Belling
Perfect Earth Project

Elizabeth Locke 

Eleanor Briggs
Howard Formby Garden Design, Inc.
Marilyn Lummis

Mrs. Coleman P. Burke
Camille Butrus
Diane and Jim Connelly
The Enchanted Edible Forest at Cross Island Farms
Elizabeth Giovine
Marsha L. Greenman
Michelle Griffith
Richard Motika and Jerrie Whitfield
Dr. and Mrs. Zebulon Taintor



The Garden Conservancy educational programs are made possible in part by the Coleman and Susan Burke Distinguished Lecture Fund, Courtnay and Terrence Daniels, the Lenhardt Education Fund, and Susan and William McKinley.

Additional support is provided by The Celia Hegyi Matching Challenge Grant, Mrs. Ritchie Battle, the Antonia Breck Fund, Camille Butrus, Michelle and Perry Griffith, Rise S. Johnson, The Krehbiel Family Foundation, Sleepy Cat Farm Foundation, and John S. Troy, FASLA.