Getting Ourselves Back To The Garden (And Park)

by CLAIRE WILLETT · May 6, 2008

garden[Image via Eccdom]

Yesterday, we woke up with a definite case of the mondays, and to banish the little bugger, we devised the most scenic run our final-ravaged brains could imagine( if you're interested, we started at Tompkins Square, ran through the rest of the E.Vil and took Houston to the East River Park, and stayed along the East River until it became the Hudson, turned just before pier 40, and came back through Greenwich village). Turns out blossoms and dapply sidewalks work far better than endorphins alone, well enough, in fact, for us to bestow them upon you. Below, we present our top five places to enjoy with the birds and the bees. What are yours?

1.) The garden of Saint Mark's Church

This one is, we admit, not incredibly sunny, but it's tranquil, verdant, and you'll rarely be sharing it with anyone besides Peter Stuyvesant's skeleton. Plus, the church itself is gorgeous in a classic, New Englandy sort of way.

2.) The medieval herb gardens at the Cloisters

We know, this amalgamation of five fourteenth-century cloisters isn't exactly centrally located, but it's so worth the hike. The enclosed gardens are modeled after herb gardens of yore, and strewn with rare shrubbery (quince anyone?). Visitors tend to be on the older, quieter side (though knowledgeable too, if you are dying to identify that knobby, shiny little tree). Once you've had your botany-fill, get thee to the parapets and indulge in some conqueror fantasies. The museum itself ain't bad either (we jest, of course; it's superb.)

3.) Gramercy Park

Okay, so unless you're a resident, or an acquaintance of a resident, you can't stroll through GP's gravel pathways. You can, however peer at the privileged through the iron fence, and the buildings that line the square are some of the city's prettiest, with impressive stoops and even more impressive inhabitants past and present.

4.) Morton St

Why, among Greenwich Village's myriad charming streets, did we pick Morton? because all of its components -low, painted doored, window-boxed residences, tall and bud-laden magnolias, unostentatious vespas and bicycles, are uniformly lovely. Because it's short, and because the bend just before 7th Ave means an entirely eyesore-free block. Because someday, when we are wealthy and important, we will live there, and throw fabulous themed and ethnogourmet festivities.

5.) East River Park.

Foliage galore? Well tended plots? Rosy brick walkways?Harbor seal sprinklers, incorporated into the cement? Check, check, check, and check. Perhaps because getting there requires a bit of walking and highway-crossing, this park is also scantly attended. Since it abuts excellent sports fields (baseball, soccer, volleyball and tennis), we suggest bringing a group of friends and spending the day, or at least part of it, there.