Best West Village parks to read in

Revel in the elegant green spaces of the West Village including James J. Walker Park and the Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields while relaxing with a good book.

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  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields

  • Photograph: Alvina Lai

    The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields

Photograph: Alvina Lai

The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields


The Gardens at St. Luke in the Fields
The north and south gardens beside this nearly 200-year-old church are idyllic treasures that most people walk right by without realizing it. At first glance, the grounds may appear to be private courtyards behind the narrow openings in the brick wall, but in fact they are open to—and extremely welcoming of—public visitors. You may feel closer to nature here, and perhaps more secluded, than in just about any other park on the list—almost as if you’ve landed in a townhouse garden imperceptible from the street. The south garden is slightly larger and more landscaped,  its brick pathways dotted with benches that take shelter among plantings of rose, lavender and many other bright flowers. In one corner, there’s an allée of cherry trees. Birds frequent these grounds, and it’s not uncommon to see butterflies alight. Within the serene, cloistered environment, you may feel a desire to go the other way—toward irreverence. Try a mystery, such as Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, set in 1896 New York; or perhaps read Jonathan Lethem’s surrealist, comic portrayal of contemporary Gotham life, Chronic City. Hudson St between Barrow and Christopher Sts. Check stlukeinthefields.org for visiting hours.

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