Soak in the greenery at a garden oasis in Manhattan.
St. Luke’s in the Fields
Hudson Street, between Grove and Barrow streets, West Village
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10am to dusk; Sunday, 10am-6:30pm; closed on holidays
Stroll down Hudson Street in the West Village and you will happen upon an archway on your right; don’t just pass it by. You’ll want to step into this historic garden, standing next to the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, which was built in 1821. The first known planting of the garden was in 1842, with a cutting taken from England. There are lots of benches to sit on and different areas to enjoy. My kids loved the fact that could play hide and seek in the maze of pathways, flowerbeds, trees, and shrubs.
The East Village Gardens
The East Village is famous for a lot of things, but you might not know that community gardening is one of them. This neighborhood boasts three famous hidden gardens, each with their own unique character (and opening hours). All began life thanks to the hard work of local community members who came together to create something for their neighborhood.
6th Street & Avenue B Community Garden
Corner of East 6th Street and Avenue B, East Village
Hours: April 1-Oct. 31st, Saturdays-Sundays, 1-6pm, or whenever the gate is open.
Founded in 1983, this large garden has seating, a stage, a children’s play area, as well as raised bed, shrubs, and trees. During the spring and summer, this community garden hosts weekly events and community gatherings.
6BC Botanical Garden
6th Street, between Avenue B and Avenue C, East Village
Hours: April (weather permitting)-October: Monday-Friday, 6pm to dusk; Saturday-Sunday, 12-6pm. The garden is also open whenever there is a member inside and the gate is open.
Just around the corner from 6th Street & Avenue B Community Garden is 6BC Botanical Garden, which was founded as group of individual plots in 1981. Today the garden is Manhattan’s only official botanical garden, and it aims to teach the community about horticulture, as well as provide a calm, green place to relax under the magnificent pagoda or next to the pond.
Creative Little Garden
530 E. 6th St., East Village
Hours: daily, 10am-6pm
This garden is a long, thin space between two buildings, with a winding path and lots of places to sit. Kids will love the birdhouses hidden around the garden and the shade is perfect on a hot day.
Elizabeth Street Garden
Entrance on Elizabeth Street, between Spring and Prince streets, Little Italy
Hours: daily, 10am-6pm (except in bad weather)
This garden is sadly facing destruction thanks to local government officials who have designated the land for affordable housing. The large green space hosts community events amongst its many statues and stone plinths and is a green oasis in an extremely urban part of Lower Manhattan. To find out how you can help save the garden, go to the website.
To find a garden in your neighborhood, visit nycgovparks.org.