By Caroline Cazes
There’s a certain feeling of euphoria that is obtained when one happens across a beautiful community garden unexpectedly, in the midst of a concrete laden block. Uptown, gardens are growing, especially as we enter the month of May. There are various opportunities available to get involved with your local community gardens, either as an active participant or casual spectator.
I first fell in love with the idea of community gardens in New York as a child, when playing in Riverside Park. The Garden People’s Garden cooperative was started in 1977 when members of a local block association decided to take park beautification into their own hands, despite city budget cuts. The 40+ individually operated cooperative of plots still thrives between 90th and 91st Streets on the Riverside Promenade as a great source of enjoyment to the neighborhood.
Years later, as a real estate agent working in Harlem, I came across a beautiful community garden on 149th street between Broadway and Amsterdam, also created and tended to by block residents. Known as Maggie’s Garden for founder Maggie Burnett (pictured below), this one vacant lot has been recreated and cultivated to serve the community since the 1970s. In 1999, the garden came to the attention of the New York Restoration Project, a nonprofit organization committed to beautifying the city’s parks and green spaces. NYPR helped reshape the garden, adding landscape architecture and an array of plants. Maggie’s Garden has a growing membership base of 30+ and is a great resource for local residents who share in the garden’s vegetable harvest. If you find yourself by 149th Street and need a restful moment, stop in and enjoy this beautiful oasis.
There are a growing number of opportunities to get involved with gardens in uptown Manhattan given the area’s enthusiastic residents that have been participating for generations. From starting your own garden to lending a hand with an existing one or simply participating in enjoying the community gardens in your area, I urge you to take some time to consider these wonderful pockets found all around upper New York.
[caption id="attachment_972" align="alignleft" width="447"]Garden People&amp;amp;rsquo;s Garden of Riverside Park (90-91st Street on the Promenade)[/caption]
Riverside Park Fund
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 455
New York, NY 10115
P: 212-870-3070 F: 212-870-3079
Email: [email protected]
149th streets between Broadway and Amsterdam
New York Restoration Project
Some additional NYC Urban Gardening Resources