DNAinfo New York found some of the best "secret" gardens to pass a leisurely evening or a short lunch break before it's too chilly. In these hidden oases, there's a chance to escape city life.
Septuagesimo Uno in the Upper West Side
West 71st Street between Broadway and West End Avenue
This narrow park — roughly the length of a brownstone — is tucked along a residential block, steps away from the hustle of the 1/2/3 stop at West 72nd Street. It's easy to pass without noticing. Many neighborhood residents confessed they'd never even heard of it.
The quietude the park offers — with no vegetable garden or recurring community events — makes it a good place to read a book on the wooden benches that line the perimeter. In the coming years, the park will only get nicer, with a $300,000 Parks Department overhaul on its way.
Creative Little Garden in the East Village
530 E. 6th St.
Neighbors have maintained this picturesque park since 1978 and their devotion shows.
The vines creeping along the entryway give it a nice overgrown feel, unlike newer gardens that are still waiting for their greenery to spread. Trees form a canopy over the pathway leading into the garden, but there are also places to bask in direct sunlight.
There's a metal porch swing under a wooden lattice and a section paved with flagstones that makes it feel like you're a guest in a very special, well-tended backyard.
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Roland Peracca, the president of the nonprofit that helps maintain Tudor City Greens, describes discovering these small parks as a "serendipitous" experience." The two parks are on either side of East 42nd Street where it intersects with Tudor City Place, east of Second Avenue.
Just a 10-minute walk east of Grand Central, one of the city's most massive transportation hubs, there are benches and tables to take your lunch break among the trees.
Greenspace @ President Street in Park Slope
Fifth Avenue and President Street
This small community garden is overflowing with wildflowers in the summer. Small bistro-style chairs and tables are spread across the space and can be rearranged for gatherings. Trees and plants creep up the sides of the adjoining brick building.
The front of the garden is paved with cobblestones and makes a small winding pathway to a mural on the back wall, painted in soothing pink and blue hues and featuring swirling figures and clouds.
West Side Community Garden in the Upper West Side
West 89th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues
Concentric circles form a ring of seating at this pleasant garden, known in particular for its spectacular tulips in the spring. Green plastic lawn chairs and wooden benches are scattered around or visitors can sit on several sets of steps leading to the garden's center point. The space's unique bowl shape offers a chance to feel surrounded by the flowers that neighbors and members tend all year.