Earth Day

Earth Day

Roosevelt Park Trees and Flowers

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Conceived by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day was intended to increase awareness of threats to the environment.

Roosevelt Park NYC bare dirtTwenty years after the first Earth Day, The Friends of Roosevelt Park were a newly formed group, dedicated to the restoration of Roosevelt Park. The park had been neglected, resulting in stretches of bare dirt broken interspersed with dead plants. It was a stressed environment.

Today, Earth Day has become an international observance, and Roosevelt Park has been restored to a welcoming slice of nature in the city. Its 10 acres are filled with trees, grass, and flowers. This Earth Day, come sit on one of our benches and celebrate how far the park has come!

Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug

Nobel monument in Roosevelt ParkNorman E. Borlaug was born on March 25th, 1914, in Cresco, Iowa, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. His name appears on the Nobel monument in Roosevelt Park, which lists all of the American recipients of the Nobel Prize. The monument is located near the park’s Columbus Avenue entrance.

The Green Revolution

Norman Borlaug was referred to as “The Father of the Green Revolution.” Borlaug was a geneticist and plant pathologist who found a high-yielding short-strawed, disease-resistant wheat. He then arranged to put the new cereal strains he had found into production to feed the world’s hungry people, thereby reducing some of the environmental and social problems that cause international conflicts. His efforts improved wheat yields in Mexico, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Near and Middle East, and in Africa.

Dr. Borlaug then became director of the International Wheat Improvement Programat the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), an international research training institute created by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations in cooperation with the Mexican government. Here he trained scientists from a variety of countries in research and production methods.

Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. Borlaug’s received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for contributing to world peace by increasing the food supply, particularly due to his work in eliminating food shortages in India and Pakistan. In 1997, in an Atlantic article called “Forgotten Benefactor of Humanity,” author Gregg Easterbrook, estimated that Borlaug’s work had prevented a billion deaths. Dr. Borlaug was 95 years old when he died, on September 12, 2009.

Cardinal in the snow

Watching the Birds

This cardinal enjoys the snowy landscape at Theodore Roosevelt Park.


Bamboo screen in Roosevelt Park

Is bamboo a grass?

Bamboo is a fast-growing giant grass that is native to southeastern Asia.  Its beautiful bright green delicate leaves cascade over slender branches, and it comes in cane colors of green, purple, olive-green, blue-gray, golden yellow, and black. Although most bamboo grows in tropical or subtropical regions, the species that grows in Roosevelt Park is hardy and tolerates subzero weather.

The music of bamboo

As the wind rustles bamboo leaves, it makes a sound that some people find conducive to meditation. The presence of this beautiful evergreen flowering perennial provides one more reason to relax in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

Where can you find bamboo in Theodore Roosevelt Park?

We have an attractive bamboo privacy screen near the Museum of Natural History’s west entrance at Columbus Avenue and West 79th Street.

Nandina Domestica

Nandina BushNandina Domestica is a hardy, adaptable, broadleaf evergreen shrub.

Heavenly Bamboo

This shrub is also known as “heavenly bamboo,” because its erect, cane-like stems and foliage give it an appearance similar to bamboo.

From eastern Asia to the Upper West Side

Nandina BerriesNative to eastern Asia, Nandina grows well in Theodore Roosevelt Park among the dappled shade gardens by the Nobel monument. Often grown as a hedge, Nandina is pest-resistant and tolerant of both heat and cold. It requires little pruning, and maintains its beauty throughout the year.

In spring, lacy pink leaves appear, eventually turning green, and showy clusters of white flowers with bright yellow anthers grow above the foliage. In autumn, older leaves turn red or purple, and bright red berries mature and persist through the winter.


Snow in Theodore Roosevelt Park

Winter’s First Snow

Winter solitude
In a world of one color
the sound of wind.

– Matsuo Basho, 1644 – 1694

Theodore Roosevelt Park, December 9, 2017

Winter Wonderland on the Upper West Side

Plants sleep; tree branches, bare of leaves, are snow covered; garden shrubs are crystalline and frozen; landscape sparkles, a brilliant white.

There is little movement, save falling snowflakes and museum staffers plowing walkways.

The planetarium, like a child’s gingerbread house, glows, warm, bright and inviting. Inside, people look out through tall, chilled, plate glass windows, in no hurry to go home.





Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia (oak leaf hydrangea)

Among the most magnificent shrubs in Theodore Roosevelt Park are the hydrangeas, paniculata, macrophylla, and quercifolia. Hydrangea quercifolia, also called oak leaf, is a flowering, upright, broad, rounded, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub native to the Southeastern portion of the United States. At maturity, the oak leaf grows to a height and width of 6 to 8 feet.

Fall Foliage

Leaves are large (8 to 12 inches), coarse-textured and lobed. In spring and early summer, this plant produces panicles of greenish-white flowers that change over time to light pink and brown color as the flowers age.  In fall, the large, oak-like leaves can turn beautiful shades of burgundy, red, orange and yellow. The bark of the stems is a cinnamon color. It exfoliates and remains attractive throughout the seasons.

Adapting to the Upper West Side

Hydrangea quercifolia is well-suited to the growing conditions in Roosevelt Park. The oak leaf hydrangea is low-maintenance and fairly drought tolerant. It can grow under direct sun for limited periods, but prefers dappled sun and partial shade. In our park, we mass oak leaf with paniculata, macrophylla, hosta, sedum, heuchera, and anemones. Plants fill in and shade the garden beds, allowing little room for invasive weeds.

oak leaf hydrangea


Giving Tuesday

Help Keep Roosevelt Park BeautifulGiving Tuesday

Before the Friends of Roosevelt Park began contributing to the maintenance and management of the park, conditions had deteriorated dramatically. The park was neglected, with litter, bare dirt and dead plants. Now the park is an attractive place to visit. Help keep it that way! Your donation will help maintain the gardens we have created, and to add plants to our beautiful neighborhood park.

100% of every dollar you donate to Friends of Roosevelt Park is applied to the park. There are no salaried administrators. Friends of Roosevelt Park is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your gift is fully tax deductible.

Use the button below to donate online. You can use your credit card or your Paypal account.

You can also mail your gift to:

Friends of Roosevelt Park, Inc.
6 W. 77 St., 8C
New York, NY 10024

Chubb Insurance volunteers

Chubb Insurance volunteers improve five gardens

Twenty-five volunteers from Chubb Insurance Company spent a day working with our gardeners to clean, mulch, rake leaves, weed, and plant perennials in Theodore Roosevelt Park. Volunteers worked in five garden beds, spreading three cubic yards of mulch from Central Park West along 81st Street to the western section of the Bull Moose Dog Run.

Looking forward to perennials in the spring

The Chubb volunteers donated and planted dozens of hellebores with green and purple sepals; white, pink and lavender flowering creeping thyme; purple glove thistle; red coral bells; bright yellow day lilies; pink sedum, and gray-green lady’s mantle. These perennials will bloom from early next spring through late autumn.