New Bird Species Flock to Javits Center’s Green Roof

June 20, 2022

Two new wild bird species were recently identified at the Javits Center’s nearly seven-acre green roof, which has evolved into a unique wildlife sanctuary since its genesis in 2014. The new birds, discovered this spring by New York City Audubon SocietyKilldeer and Ovenbird, now join 35 other local and migratory bird species, five bat species and thousands of insects, including 300,000 honeybees that regularly visit or inhabit the rooftop sanctuary on Manhattan’s West Side.

Led by the New York Convention Center Development Corporation (NYCCDC), the construction of the 6.75-acre green roof, the largest of its kind in New York State, was part of a major five-year renovation of the convention center that included adding 1.2 million square feet of event space, installing more than 6,000 bird-safe glass panels and more than 100 energy-efficient HVAC units. 

Thanks to the venue’s sustainable upgrades, bird collisions have been reduced by more than 90 percent, and the rooftop has transformed into a flourishing habitat for area wildlife, according to Javits Center officials.

“Our green roof is living proof of the power of sustainability,” said Alan Steel, CEO of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the Javits Center. “Thanks to our ongoing partnership with NYC Audubon, we have been able to understand how simple, smart changes to our infrastructure can have a positive impact on the urban environment, and these new bird species certainly exemplify that impact.”

Comprised of sedum, a low-lying rock plant that has served as a suitable habitat for birds to nest and forage, the green roof and its environmental impact have been studied by members of NYC Audubon since 2014 via observation visits, sample collections and the banding of baby chicks with U.S. Geological Survey bands designed to track their movements throughout the country.  

According to NYC Audubon officials, birds born on the green roof have traveled as far as away as Canada and Florida, and some have returned to the roof in subsequent years. 

“The transformation of the Javits Center into a wildlife haven is an extraordinary achievement, and these new bird species demonstrate its transformation is far from over,” said Jessica Wilson, executive director of NYC Audubon. “The Javits Center serves as the finest example of how building managers can revamp their structures to provide high-quality habitat and safe passage for our migratory birds, which face threats of collisions from glass buildings and a lack of greenspace throughout our City.”

She added, “We are honored to work closely with their sustainability employees to study one of the most remarkable rooftops in the United States.”

Besides serving as a welcoming and safe environment for wild birds seeking sanctuary in the middle of an urban jungle, the green roof has also gone a long way in helping Javits achieve its ambitious sustainability goals. 

Led by Architect Bruce Fowle, founder of FXCollaborative, and then-NYCCDC President Barbara Lampen, the 2009-2014 Javits Center roof renovation led to a 26 percent reduction in the venue’s energy consumption and paved the way for the recent 1.2 million-square-foot expansion, which was completed in May of 2021. 

Part of the venue’s expansion project included the construction of a one-acre rooftop working farm, which is expected to generate up to 40,000 pounds of produce each year. Located more than eight stories above street level, the farm has joined the New York State Grown & Certified program, a statewide effort that identifies local producers who adhere to higher standards in terms of food safety and environmental stewardship. Farmers with Brooklyn Grange, which manages the farm’s day-to-day operations, plant a variety of crops and work closely with on-site chefs to integrate the fresh produce into special roof-to-table meals for specific events. 

From West 34th to West 40th streets between 11th and 12th avenues, the expanded Javits Center also features a four-level truck marshaling facility capable of housing up to 200 tractor-trailers at any one time, reducing neighborhood congestion and pollution while improving traffic safety. The expansion has also been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Check out the Javits Center’s green roof and its feathered inhabitants in real-time by visiting its live Green Roof Cam here.

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Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.