The seasonally updated plantings weaving throughout this 2,000-foot-long linear shopping complex on Long Island reflect the rhythmic cycles of the seasons and of the fashion industry. Originally developed in 1956, the shopping center underwent extensive renovation beginning in the 1970s. By the 1980s, property owner, Frank Castagna, hired Manhattan architect Peter Marino to create a fresh and comprehensive concept for a luxury outdoor shopping center. New limestone facades replaced dated store entrances and granite sidewalks enhanced the overall aesthetics and articulation of the ground plane. In 1986 Americana Manhasset engaged Oehme, van Sweden & Associates for landscape design, beginning a long-term collaboration.
The plant palettes vary in composition depending upon their location within the complex. Perimeter plantings delineating the edge from surrounding roadways comprise meadow-like sweeps of ornamental grasses, perennials, trees, and shrubs. Within these boundaries, parking lots surround a linear arrangement of buildings, almost 1,800 feet in length and 180 feet in width, aligned with Northern Boulevard. Lush ornamental grasses and trees planted in medians provide visual relief and shade within the asphalt parking lots. Wide sidewalks adjacent to the buildings guide pedestrians to storefronts and meld into small plazas situated in the voids between buildings. More formal groupings, including annuals, have been integrated into these spaces, complementing the stone and glass materials of the high-end storefronts. Amidst moveable tables and chairs shaded by wooden pergolas, colorful sculptures, fountains, and exotic plants punctuate textured masses of bright flowers and foliage.