New York City’s Javits Center has massively expanded its rooftop, adding an entire farm, as well as one of the country’s largest green roofs.
As one of the busiest convention centers in the U.S., the Javits Center has decided to go big on sustainability. Early last year, the venue added 1.2 million square feet of space, much of which prioritizes environmentally-friendly initiatives.
One of the most exciting additions to the convention center was a full one-acre farm on its rooftop. Brooklyn Grange, the group that runs the farm, describes it as a “food forest” that aims to imitate New York’s forest ecosystems.
From apple and pear trees to a pollinator meadow and an entire greenhouse, the rooftop farm has begun to produce huge amounts of food for visitors.
Already, this farm grows 40,000 pounds of produce per year for its kitchen to whip up into some delicious dishes for guests.
To help the plants on this farm succeed, several beehives were installed on the roof. Besides helping with pollination, these bees — of which there are at least 1 million — produce over 100 pounds of honey every year. The beekeepers onsite have also set up a live bee cam for you to see what the buzz is all about.
The Javits Center also added a 6.75-acre green roof, which serves as a bird and bat sanctuary. The green roof’s plants absorb about 7 million gallons of rainwater every year, which could otherwise runoff into city streets and sewers, exacerbating flooding.
In addition to the center’s new resident plants and animals, its roof was also fitted with at least 3,000 solar panels, making it the largest array in the borough of Manhattan. The solar panels allow the venue to run on cheaper, cleaner energy and reduce the amount of harmful carbon pollution it creates, which contributes to the overheating of the planet.
According to Alan Steel, who leads the New York Convention Development Corporation, the rooftop and its sustainability initiatives aren’t solely useful for the environment; they also add to the aesthetic of the venue.
“With stunning skyline views and state-of-the-art technology, the rooftop creates a unique roof-to-table experience for our guests while enabling our staff to push the boundaries of sustainability,” Steel said in a press release.