USPS Goes Green: The Morgan Mail Processing Center (Midtown Manhattan)

This green roof happened almost by accident – the Morgan was scheduled for a new roof and the architect in charge, Shalini Mohan, had the outlandish and forward thinking notion to not just redo the roof but to redo it as a green roof.  The Post Office had set some high targets for the DOE-mandated energy saving goals and were open to considering one-of-a-kind options at key buildings or sites in significant locations.  As a result, in time, Shalini was given support by the US Postal Service who has this green-thinking policy in place.  She hired Elizabeth Kennedy as the talented and detail-oriented landscape architect, and got to work on the transformation of the roof.  To the delight of the workers at the Morgan and the residents of the Ohm luxury condo building that overlooks the project, the roof opened in July 2009.

You can LOOK UP all day long but you won’t see the expansive green roof atop the Morgan mail processing center from street level.  Tucked away seven stories above midtown Manhattan, this 2.5 acre green roof is the largest in NYC and the second largest in the United States.  It exclusively serves the employees of the Morgan, a 2.2 million square foot facility that runs at full capacity after the usual 9-5 business hours sorting our mail for next-day’s delivery.  To serve the night owls who work there, the green roof is fitted with lights and benches for enjoying evening meal breaks with sweeping views of midtown Manhattan and cool breezes off the Hudson River.

The roof is planted primarily with low-growing sedum, the “workhorses” of green roofs, but there are rows of young, tall, handsome trees growing in boxes alongside the benches.  While the sedum thrives without much irrigation help, the trees are struggling a bit because of the strong winds off the Hudson.  As they mature, they’ll provide wonderful shade for the day shift mail sorting employees on their lunch breaks.

Not only does this roof reduce storm water runoff, insulate the building and create biodiversity, it also is expected to last twice as long as a conventional roof, up to 50 years.  It serves as yet another  reminder of what a huge impact one original thinker can have on our city of 9 million or so people.

Next time, I’ve got what I believe is the oldest green roof in NYC.  I found it this weekend serendipitously, just by LOOKING UP.  Give me a few days to fact check and I’ll share this centuries-old beauty with you.


12 thoughts on “USPS Goes Green: The Morgan Mail Processing Center (Midtown Manhattan)

  1. Hi! This post couldn’t be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this
    page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good
    read. Many thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you may be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often
    come back from now on. I want to encourage one to continue
    your great writing, have a nice day!

  3. Great article! That is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the web.

    Disgrace on the seek engines for now not positioning
    this submit higher! Come on over and talk over with my site
    . Thanks =)

  4. I’ve been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It’s
    pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be much more useful than ever

  5. Wow Leslie! They just get better and better. You were so lucky to see the post-office roof – how did you manage that.
    Looking Up is soooo cool. Keep up the great work –
    I think I may have figured out how to get notified when you blog. I did check the box and hope it works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s