Newtown Creek Wildflower Roof and Community Space 2019-06-05T16:20:32+00:00

Project Description

Newtown Creek Wildflower Roof and Community Space

Project Lead: New York City Audubon Society
2015 Project Partners: Newtown Creek Alliance; Alive Structures; Trout in the Classroom; and the Fortune Society
2018 Project Partners: Alive Structures; Broadway Stages; Green Roof Researchers Alliance – Education Focus Group; Newtown Creek Alliance
Project Location: 520 Kingsland Avenue
2015 GCEF Grant: $971,782
2015 Matching Contribution: $2,571,840
2017 Budget Addition: $162,902
2018 GCEF Grant: $99,557
2018 Matching Contributions: $74,650
Fact Sheet: Newtown Creek Wildflower Roof PDF
Project Status: Ongoing

In 2015, the New York City Audubon Society received a GCEF grant of $971,782 (and provided $2,571,840 in matching funds) to install a 21,711-square foot (comprised of 4 different levels), bird-friendly intensive green roof to reduce polluted stormwater, provide publicly-accessible green space, and create an outdoor education classroom and related environmental education programming for Greenpoint residents at the Broadway Stages building on Kingsland Avenue. Major GCEF-funded project activities include:

  • Planting the roof with biologically-diverse native plant species
  • Conducting multi-parameter monitoring to assess green roof biodiversity characteristics and sharing results with the community
  • Providing educational programming for elementary and middle school educators who will participate in a “Trout in the Classroom” conference, and learn about the site as an outdoor classroom
  • Conducting additional educational programming, including tours, lectures, workshops (e.g., “Weather in the Watershed”), and open houses, and offering public access and eco-festival community days
  • Developing and implementing a sustainable maintenance plan that will include creating a stewardship and volunteer network for long-term roof maintenance
  • Conducting local “green-collar” job training in green roof installation and maintenance

In 2017, through a competitive process, the New York City Audubon Society was awarded $162,902 in additional funding to extend horticultural maintenance of the green roof and continue further programming, including the annual fall festival, lectures and presentations in the community space, school and camp visits to the roof, Newtown Creek canoe/kayak and public tours, a spring conference, and printed interpretive materials to complement this programming. Additionally, the project website and social media platforms will be enhanced and a strategic plan for the project’s continuation beyond the grant period will be developed.


In 2018, through a competitive process, the New York City Audubon Society was awarded $99,557 in additional funding from GCEF to enrich educational programming at and about the green roof; to expand the current roof; and to add a green wall. All enhancements are intended to provide more green space for hands-on outdoor learning experiences and to be accessible to the Greenpoint public and visible from the street.

The project website can be found at:

Above: Photo 1 by Andrew Mass. Photos 2, 3 and 7 by Niki Jackson.


August 2016: Phase one of construction for the first 2 roofs has been completed. A combined 7,066 square feet have been installed with protective layers of plastic and felt. Both drainage systems and irrigation lines were then laid under 2 inches of gravel and an additional 5 to 8 inches of soil covering the entire roofs. Stonemasons have fashioned bluestone pathways and patios for visitor access. Based on calculations, this first phase of covered roofs has the capacity to capture over 10,740 gallons of storm water per one-inch storm. On September 24th, the new “Greenroof and Community Engagement Center” located at the Broadway Stages building was opened to the public.

August 2017: The remaining 10,000 square feet of green roof covering was installed, which finalized the 22,000 square foot green roof. Bird monitoring and data collection is ongoing. NYC Audubon hosted several programming events including a tour for the LES Ecology Center and a PS 34 Eco-Families Tour. Beginning in September, Kingsland Wildflowers presents a monthly artist lecture series featuring local Greenpoint artists who have created environmentally-focused bodies of work.

February 2018: The 2nd Annual Kingsland Wildflowers Festival on September 23, 2017 was a huge success with approximately 400 attendees and many community partners participating. Other programming included three lectures, five ‘Field Day Fridays’ with Newtown Creek Alliance, and four ‘Summer Saturdays’ wrapping up with the last public open-house hosted during Open House New York on October 14, 2017 with over 500 people visiting the roof. NYC Audubon also hosted the New York City Department of Education North Brooklyn STEAM Collaborative of teachers and 30 freshmen students from Leaders High School in Bensonhurst. NYC Audubon is preparing for a robust programming schedule that begins again in Spring 2018 and includes “Kingsland Wildflowers Sensorium,” an event with a group of local artists that will celebrate community, preservation, and sanctuary.

Conservation and science had a big year in 2017, too. NYC Audubon’s Dr. Susan Elbin and her monitoring team installed three swallow boxes and an ARU (automatic recording unit) for bats and birds. Combined with traditional monitoring methods and their arthropod sampling and weather data, NYC Audubon is excited to compare findings from the Kingsland Wildflowers’ green roof with other city green roofs monitored by NYC Audubon.

August 2018: The New York City Audubon Society is working with the Green Roof Researchers Alliance and Newtown Creek Alliance to develop a preK-5 curriculum guide to support the addition of an outdoor classroom and living-learning lab for school and teacher visits to the Newtown Creek Wildflower Roof. New York City Audubon is also working with a consultant on strategies for continuing the Newtown Creek Wildflower Roof and Community Space project beyond the GCEF grant period.

February 2019:In the fall of 2018, an additional 2,014 square feet of green roof space was installed on the 3rd floor of the Broadway Stages building. This new green space will contribute to the project’s outdoor education initiatives and will be used as a living-learning lab by local educators and students.

Visits to the green roof have been more popular than ever: On September 22, 2018 the 3rdAnnual Kingsland Wildflowers Festival drew over 500 attendees with over 25 participating organizations, community groups, and artists. NYC Audubon also conducted two bird walks, 25 tours, eight public education events, and five “Field Day Fridays”, which provide a regular opportunity for people to tour the garden and learn about its plantings.

The overwhelming success of this project has inspired the development of more green roofs in Greenpoint. In January, Assemblyman Joe Lentol announced an award of a $1.5 million State grant to Broadway Stages and its partner, Alive Structures, for the creation of additional green roofing, totaling 1.4 acres, on 3 of their sound stages in Greenpoint.

In the Spring of 2018, the project completed its Kingsland Wildflowers at Broadway Stages Green Roof Teacher’s Guide. Printed copies will be available for use at Kingsland Wildflowers, and a PDF is available for download here.