The Heritage Rose District of 
New York City:
Celebrating our heritage with historic roses in West Harlem and Washington Heights

Audubon Park Historic District
The Heritage Rose District of New York City
A project of 
Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer 
and the Heritage Rose Foundation

Saturday, October 24, local residents of northern Manhattan, neighborhood volunteers, and representatives of local institutions joined Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer in the northwest corner of Trinity Cemetery at the foot of the Tyng Monument, to break ground for the Heritage Rose District of New York City.  With Broadway and Trinity Cemetery as its nexus, the project will encompass the western portion of Northern Manhattan between West 135th and West 163rd Streets, including  the newly-designated Audubon Park Historic District.

The Heritage Rose District of New York City
Since 2005, the Manhattan Borough President's Office has been working on a neighborhood improvement initiative called Take Me to the River that is intended to build on the economic and cultural strengths of West Harlem and Southern  Washington Heights.  Facilitated by Paimaan Lodhi, Urban Planner in the Borough President's Office, Take Me to the River has been an exercise in community building; a working group of local stakeholders and government agencies compiled a set of recommendations to improve the neighborhood, one of which was to create a unifying theme.  When Stephen Scanniello, President of the Heritage Rose Foundation, came to Trinity Cemetery in April 2009, to plant Harrison's Yellow on the grave of its breeder, George Folliott Harrison, and met the cemetery's manager Yolanda Rivera, who was also a member of the Take Me to the River task force, an idea took root, began to germinate, and flowered into the Heritage Rose District, the first of its kind in the country.

The vast majority of distinguished rose collections are maintained in private estates, formal gardens, and dedicated public gardens.  Similar to these gardens, the Heritage Rose District will contain a variety of noteworthy old roses, but displayed in public spaces throughout West Harlem and southern Washington Heights - in neighborhood parks, publicly accessible open spaces, roadway medians, sidewalk planters, and residential front yards - for the general public to enjoy.

While the Heritage Rose District will beautify the upper Manhattan, it is also intended to increase the public's perception of heritage roses and to create attractive markers that celebrate the horticultural history of New York City, honor local historical figures, and celebrate local culture and heritage. 

The Heritage Rose District is a volunteer effort coordinated by the Manhattan Borough President's Office, depending on a network of volunteers and philanthropic supporters.  Nurseries around the country donated the inaugural collection and the Heritage Rose Foundation is providing horticultural expertise and guidance.  Individuals and 
organizations are taking responsibility for watering, fertilizing, and pruning roses, as well as 
protecting them from pests, The initial planting sites reflect the commitments by the City and 
local institutions such as the Broadway Malls Association, Harlem Heights Historical Society, 
and Broadway Malls Association.  (For a full list see sidebar.)  Future sites could include a 
wide variety of spaces, ranging from public sites to the front yards of private residences, 
but must include dedicated maintenance from an individual or organization.  The most suitable 
locations are those with ample sunlight, protection from the elements, separation from walking 
paths, protection from road salt and other de-icing agents, and when possible sites
that are fenced or in raised beds. 

For more information, contact Erika Lindsey, Urban Planner in the Manhattan Borough 
President's Office.
Stephen Scanniello, President of the Heritage Rose Foundation flanked by Yolanda Rivera, Manager of Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum, and Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer
What is a Heritage Rose?

Heritage Roses are a collection of roses originating in the nineteenth century or earlier, with particular historic, educational, or genetic value.  Heritage roses are also known as old roses, wild roses, heirloom roses, historic roses, and antique roses.

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer surrounded by representatives of organizations and volunteers
participating in the Heritage Rose District of New York

The Borough President planting one of the first bushes in the Heritage Rose District. 

Inaugurating the Heritage Rose District of New York

Heritage Rose District
Inaugural Participants:

American Academy of Arts and Letters

Boricua College

Broadway Malls Association

Church of the Intercession

City College of New York

Grinnell HDFC

Harlem Heights Historical Society

Heritage Rose Foundation

Hispanic Society

Horticultural Society of New York

Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum

New York Restoration Project

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Partnership for Parks

Recycling the Past

Riverside Oval Association

Roger Morris Park Conservancy

Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum

[Some of the information in this article provided in Press Packets from the 
Manhattan Borough President's Office.]

Click map for a larger view of the 
Heritage Rose District