The city of New York plays host to nearly 51 million visitors a year and is home to over 19 million residents in the New York, North New Jersey and Long Island areas. It is a city of urban landscaping, millions of people and surprisingly, some of the coolest urban gardens and natural elemental designs in the world. For travelers looking to explore NYC off the beaten path and away from typical New York tourist attractions or for residents looking for an escape from dense city life, here are 8 of the best, coolest and most beautiful urban gardens New York City has to offer.
The High Line
For a one of a kind experience, visitors to New York should visit The High Line. Rich in New York history, this elevated outdoor railway which was originally built in 1930 has been remodeled as a state of the art, 22 block public park. Guests walk above crowded streets and among gorgeous greenery in this park which can only be visited through elevator access at four of its nine entrances. For serenity and urban views, The High Line is a unique and exceptional park for tourists and residents alike.
Brooklyn Grange Farm
The largest rooftop farm in America, and quite possibly the world, is located in the heart of New York City at Brooklyn Grange Farm. This small New York urban farm has over two acres of rooftop soil and foliage. Since the farm’s birth in 2010, the farmers of Brooklyn Grange have sold over 40,000 pounds of vegetable and now keep egg laying hens and cultivate bees. Open for tours, internships and private events, this fully functioning rooftop farm is a must see in the concrete jungle of New York.
Empire State Building
For a different type of artistry and garden experience, a trip to the New York’s iconic Empire State Building is in order. Guests to the top of the building can see a garden of city lights and silhouetted high rises against a setting sun. This “garden” is best seen at twilight but the building is open until 2 AM for visitors looking to view the lights of the “City That Never Sleeps.”
Central Park Conservatory Garden
The Central Park Conservatory Garden is home to three smaller gardens, each embodying different genres of gardens found throughout the globe. To the north, the conservatory garden is home to a French-designed garden with fantastic seasonal flora displays and a center fountain titled “Three Dancing Maidens.” In the south section of the conservatory, a quaint and charming English styled garden can be found. This garden is dedicated to Frances Hodgson Burnett, the author of the children’s book, The Secret Garden and at the end of a water lily pool, a statue of the book characters, Mary and Dickon, can be found. In the center of the conservatory, large sweeping stairs lead to an Italian inspired garden. Twelve foot high fountains play at the west end of the large and perfectly manicured lawn and guests revel in the beauty of a wisteria covered pergola also found in the center section. This garden in New York is an oasis away from the shape angles of skyscrapers and allows visitors a tranquil and unique experience with Central Park.
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
For a view of the entire New York skyline, guests can visit a three story observatory at the top of the Rockefeller Plaza. Guests can get a complete view of the New York City garden-like skyline of tourist attractions such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Central park, the Empire State Building and the entire New York skyline.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
This picturesque garden allows visitors to see herb and rose gardens as well as a widespread amount of indoor plants, a Bonsai museum and pavilions featuring desert, tropical and temperate zone plant life. Other exhibits exist in this exceptional garden in the heart of Brooklyn but guests are truly transported out of the city with a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden aquatic house. Raised out of ashes (literally built on an ash dump from the 1800s,) this garden is a must see for travelers looking for a different and naturally pleasing New York attraction.
The New York Earth Room
For those who travel to New York for its artistic flare, then The New York Earth Room a NYC must-see. This interior earth sculpture is home to 3,600 square feet floor space covered in 250 cubic yards of earth. Guests can see the sculpture and its 22 inch deep wall of earth for free in the colder winter months and it truly is an artistic rendition of earth. Originally this sculpture was third in a set of three created in 1977, but now is the only one remaining in the world. Weighting in with 280,000 lbs, this unique, incredibly earthy and serene sculpture is off the beaten path of New York tourist attractions and is just plain cool.
Storm King Art Center Sculpture Park
Located a short hour outside of New York City, the Storm King Art Center is a 500-acre sculpture garden. Guests can walk among giant works of art in an outdoor setting that includes works from famous artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, David Smith, Sol LeWitt, Louise Nevelson, and Magdalena Abakanowicz, among several others or take a 35 minute shuttle tour around the park. Mountains, fields and expansive artwork make this garden a New York oddity and transports guests into a cool and almost tranquil experience.
Whether a walking park above the city, a botanical garden or a New York loft filled with earth, the cool garden attractions of NYC set it apart as one of the coolest cities in the world for natural design.
About the author:
Dan Patterson works for CityPASS. Vacations are better in New York City with the New York CityPASS. You’ll save 46% off admission to the top attractions in New York. Visit citypass.com/new-york for more details.
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