Finding greener pastures in the world’s greatest concrete jungle might seem like a challenge, but New Yorkers know a thing or two about the outdoors. From the best picnic spots in NYC to some truly stunning rooftop gardens, our city gives us quite the scenic view. If you’re looking to tend to mother nature’s secret gems, look no further—here’s a list of some of the prettiest community gardens in the city.
This tranquil space lives up to its name, shrouding visitors in vivid greenery down its winding path. Enhanced with sculptures and more birdhouses than you can count, this small oasis provides the community a public space for live music, readings and art shows. The garden will also host your private events in exchange for a donation. So whether you’re looking to host a dinner or pop the big question, the little garden of wonder will make the perfect backdrop to your event. 530 E 6th St, Manhattan.
With a view of Manhattan locals would die for, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm sits serenely at the top of a Broadway Stages soundstage in Greenpoint. Hosting a range of volunteer and educational programs tending to its 9,000-square-foot farm, this rooftop stunner provides fresh produce to area restaurants during growing season. For a chance to experience the garden’s fresh veggies yourself, you can grab some greens at the farm’s on-site market every last Sunday of the month and help plant and harvest. 44 Eagle St, Brooklyn.
Displaying a seriously modern design, this contemporary gem became one of the first community gardens to install a stormwater management system in 2013. Now equipped with a new way to improve local water quality, the park can teach younger generations the way of the land with its outdoor classroom, composting station and well-kept vegetable beds. Visitors, on the other hand, can let the park challenge their senses on a fragrance walk, where aromatic plants like sweetbay magnolia and orange azalea lead the way. 534 Carroll St, Brooklyn.
If you’re seeking refuge from the busy streets of the East Village, look no further than the Green Oasis, a local savior from the asphalt. Known for its sculpture garden and kid-friendly theater, this green wonder boasts its very own beehive, grape arbor and koi pond. New members are always welcome and help upkeep the garden’s iconic gazebo, seating areas and weeding. Bring a book (or grab one at the park’s Little Free Library) and enjoy the scenery. 8th St between Aves C and D, Manhattan.
If you’re looking to leave a mark on this city that isn’t a carbon footprint, bring your trowel to the Metro Baptist Church in Hell’s Kitchen. Managed and run by volunteers, this rooftop farm’s dirt-filled kiddie pools distribute fresh veggies to local food pantries and the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Volunteers are welcome every Thursday and Saturday, from 10am to 1pm. 410 W 40th St, Manhattan.
Founded in 1973, Liz Christy was the first community garden in New York City. Now, with more than 40 years under its belt (along with the city’s tallest Dawn Redwood tree), the garden still provides Manhattan with one wild landscape. Adorned with evergreens and weeping birches, the garden hosts visitors on Saturdays all year and Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from April to September. Explore the pond, vegetable garden, and wildflower habitat, but stay true to the park’s rules of conduct. Sun bathing and bird watching are allowed, but pick a flower and face the consequences. E Houston between 2nd Ave and Bowery, Manhattan.
As one of the largest community gardens in New York City (one acre, to be exact), the Ninth Street Community Garden and Park holds a plethora of outdoor experiences for city dwellers. Take a walk through the Japanese garden or wisteria arbor, and make a pit stop at the park’s gazebo. If you’re looking to enrich the scenery with some succulent burgers or grilled veggies, take advantage of the BBQ and seating areas. This park provides the best open area for relaxation, so grab a blanket and let mother nature take its course. Ave C between 9th and 10th Sts, Manhattan.
Once home to an offshoot of the Domino Sugar factory, the temporary urban farm adorns a patch of land on the Brooklyn waterfront, giving a placid view of the Manhattan skyline. Although the garden is due to become a building complex in the next three years, visitors can enjoy weekly farm stands, a “Sunday Supper” series beside the farm’s outdoor kitchen and a private event venue in the meantime. If you happen to host a party at this verdant hot spot near sunset, make sure to check out their newly planted trees and gorgeous garden beds lit by their own string of glimmering lights: the Williamsburg Bridge. 320 Kent Ave, Brooklyn.
Part of the Brooklyn Alliance of Neighborhood Gardens Land Trust (BANG), this community garden located between Warren Street and St. Marks Place prides itself in advancing gardening opportunities for the neighborhood. With weekend gardening days for master green thumbs and novices alike, the garden also plays host to a chicken coop. If you’re a friend to animals and enjoy composting for a better Earth, this garden calls for your membership. Warren St between 4th and 5th Aves, Brooklyn
This splash of green decorates Manhattan’s Upper West Side like a picturesque landscape. A former 89,000-square-foot vacant lot, the garden now hosts a tulip festival in the spring and movie screenings in the summer. Volunteers who tend to the flower park meet the first Sunday of every month, but anyone can enjoy a stroll through the park’s floral amphitheater and community vegetable beds. 142 W 89th St, Manhattan.
Renovated with the community’s Puerto Rican heritage in mind, the Willis Avenue Community Garden was once a trash-filled, 9,000-square-foot lot. Today, the garden serves local families in the Bronx with 24 planting beds, a butterfly garden and a casita: a shed structure popular for social gatherings in Puerto Rico. Enjoy a truly cultured meal in the picnic area while taking in the garden’s colorful murals. 401 E 143 St, Bronx.