Tucked away in small corners and on empty lots of the concrete jungle, are tiny havens of greenery – New York City’s community gardens. In a city with more buildings than trees, these gardens have become important assets for residents. They provide the opportunity for people to explore gardening techniques and tools, learn about composting and the environment, and spend time outdoors.
Right now, there are over 550 official gardens in New York City, and of the 137 in Manhattan, 52 of them make up what is known as the Community Garden District. Scattered across the Lower East Side, these community gardens are teeming with culture and comradery. Each space is unique, and they are all managed and maintained by their own board of members.
The garden at the corner of 9th Street and Avenue C, or the 9th Street Community Garden is one of the oldest and largest in the neighborhood. Though it occupies a significant amount of space, an underground stream beneath the lot has kept it from attracting developers.
From April through October, the garden members organize a multitude of events to bring the surrounding community together. They throw holiday parties, host a summer concert series, and provide weekly gardening classes.