In New York City, 27% of the land is dedicated to parks and gardens, but when you’re on the High Line you’re not likely to get the kind of peaceful enjoyment you associate with green space. Sure, Central Park and Governors Island are remarkable, but if you’re just looking to kick it outdoors, take a stroll through some of these lesser-known parks and gardens, starting with Tudor City Greens, perched on top of street level at the East end of 42nd St.
Long Island City is home to a couple of gardens: Windmill Community Garden, which just opened in 2016, and Smiling Hogshead Ranch, an urban farm located on an abandoned part of the Long Island Railroad.
On the northern tip of Manhattan, just south of West 215th Street, you’ll find Bruce’s Garden, named after park volunteer and caretaker Bruce Reynolds, who died as an on-duty police officer in the September 11th attacks.
Further north, in the Bronx, you’ll find the gardens and grounds of Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, free and open to the public from 8:30am-dusk, and Willis Avenue Community Garden, which covers four city lots.
Named for its location on East 6th Street between Avenues B and C, the 6BC Botanical Garden is open on weekends from noon-6pm and weedays after 6pm.
Cross the river to Brooklyn and you’ll find Green Dome Garden, a designated quiet zone next to the neighboring Russian Orthodox Cathedral with the green dome. Naval Cemetery Landscape is another hidden gem that just reopened this spring after being closed for almost 100 years.
Last but not least, Staten Island has the unique New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, based on gardens from the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644 AD. It’s located in the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and contains a bamboo forest, waterfalls, and a koi pond.