A Robert A. M. Stern Building

20 East End Avenue

Urban Gardening in NYC

Central and Riverside Parks in New York City rank among the most beautiful outdoor spaces in the country, but where is it possible to create new green spaces in one of the most dense metropolises in the world? Look no further than the city’s rooftops, where exciting gardening projects are flourishing everywhere. The city’s own urban farms are proving it’s possible to grow superb produce in the Big Apple. Plus, at certain luxury condominium residences, you can garden in your own, private outdoor haven.

Rockefeller Center
The five rooftop gardens at Rockefeller Center, designed in the 1930s by landscape artist Ralph Hancock, aren’t easily accessible to all, but you can catch a glimpse of them from the Top of the Rock observation deck. They are also open occasionally to the public for special events such as Open House New York. There are a couple of other ways to experience this sky-high revelation of boxed privet, fountains, and floral borders: either become an employee at Rockefeller Center (that may be going a bit far), or simply rent one of the gardens for a private event.

Battery Urban Farm
Battery Urban Farm may only occupy a single acre, but it’s crammed with more than 100 varieties of fruit, vegetables, and grains. At the heart of the farm is a rich educational program that includes school field trips, camps, and farm education apprenticeships. Two annual events, in the Earth Festival and Harvest Festival, are open to neighbors and supporters. The Farm’s Garden to School Cafe Program also helps participating school cafeterias enliven their culinary offerings with fresh, local produce.

Sky Room and 230 Fifth
Some of NYC’s most chic urban gardens can be enjoyed with a drink in hand. Such is the case at Sky Room on the 33rd and 34th floors of a Times Square high-rise. Possibly the loftiest bar in NYC, Sky Room also features terraces furnished with an array of exotic plants. Meanwhile at the trendy 230 Fifth, a lush rooftop garden serves as a luxury lookout for patrons throughout the year. When it’s cold out, they’ll even lend you a red robe to keep you warm.

Roof Garden Cafe and Martini Bar
For a less exclusive but just as breathtaking rooftop experience, take the elevator to the top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and visit the Cantor Roof Garden. The artistic landscape changes regularly with new sculptural installations and the occasional performance, all of which can be enjoyed along with the offerings from the Met’s Roof Garden Cafe and Martini Bar.

Gotham Greens
Since launching its flagship rooftop greenhouse in 2010, Gotham Greens has revolutionized commercial urban farming in NYC. There are now three large greenhouses looming over Brooklyn and Queens that grow everything from Swiss chard, basil, and butterhead lettuce to Brooklyn sweet tomatoes. The produce is free of pesticides, and there’s enough of it to be sold at retailers all over the city, and online. Who said urban farming had to be small scale?

20 East End Avenue
The most accessible urban garden is undoubtedly the one that belongs to you. As the trend for such green spaces grows, designers and architects are increasingly searching for ways to capitalize on how buildings can incorporate private gardens. One highly successful example can be found at 20 East End Avenue, a collection of luxury condos for sale on the Upper East Side. Selected residences here feature sculpted, stepped gardens that can be personalized by their owners. Some condominium residents may transform their personal green space into an urban chef’s garden full of herbs, fruits, and greens. Others may focus on cultivating flowerbeds. However residents at 20 East End Avenue choose to cultivate their gardens, they’ll find that outdoor gas and wood-burning fireplaces help make such personal retreats enjoyable all year round.

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