Text and Photographs By Meg A. Parsont
New York City seems so much greener now than I remember it being when I grew up here. As I meandered around the Upper West Side today, I saw beautiful plantings in the islands dividing Broadway, window boxes overflowing with hot-pink impatiens and pale purple vinca, and tree pits planted with ornate displays of coleus plants. I also discovered a tiny community garden on a quiet side street, and lovingly tended public green spaces.
Autumn may be right around the corner but these sparkling late-summer days are the perfect time to, well, stop and smell the roses, which are still blooming. Here’s a peek at some of the many pockets of green on the Upper West Side.
Goldenrod in Verdi Square (@73rd Street and Broadway), set against the backdrop of the iconic Ansonia.
Flower beds in front of the 77th Street entrance to the American Museum of Natural History
Leafy West 87th Street as viewed from the entrance to a park-like garden between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.
Rose of Sharon shrub in the garden on West 87th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West
A five-foot-tall canna lily in a beautifully planted area in front of an apartment building on Columbus Avenue @ 90th Street. The El Dorado is peeking out in the background.
Sorghum, a cereal grain plant also called great millet, grows among the roses on Columbus Avenue @ 90th Street.
A giant hibiscus in a planted area on Columbus Avenue @ 90th Street
Russian sage growing in the island dividing Broadway @97th Street
Reading Garden sign @PS 163 flanked by hydrangea bushes and, of course, a reading gnome
Rose of Sharon shrub in the Joan of Arc Park (Riverside Drive, from 91st-95th Streets)
Balloon flower in the Joan of Arc Park
Black-eyed Susans in the Joan of Arc Park
The gardens by the clay tennis courts in Riverside Park are also still going strong, the flower and vegetable beds of the community garden on 104th Street are flourishing, and the purple butterfly bushes near the Sailor and Soldier Monument in Riverside Drive @89th Street have reached record heights. What are some of your favorite green spaces on the Upper West Side?
I don’t know anything about flowers but I sure do like to see them… I’m guess that scratching and sniffing my monitor would be… unproductive at best?
I have loved walking past the those 104th street gardens all spring and summer through their waves of flowers, fruits, and veg. The small, short yellow sunflowers (still 3-4 feet tall) are still blooming – if I have the name right – I’m as glad to see those yellow heads as I am the cooler sunny weather.
Meg: your pictures are amazing. Thank you for continuing to post them share your obvious love of the beauty that is all around us and that which we sometimes overlook.
What a delightful article! The photos and details of the locations make it a wonderful read and a direct guide to go and admire these wonders.
Lovely photos and text, thank you!
Don’t forget Straus Park where the gardener always does such a beautiful job 🙂
Another wonderful column by Meg A Parsont!
Everyone in the neighborhood is proud of Verdi Park and it’s lovely gardens. WE NEED TO SUPPORT THE GARDENERS: with elbow grease and dollars. It didn’t happen as a miracle, but as the result of really hard work on the part of the crew!
Lovely, thank you!
Thanks to your alert I walked around the clay tennis courts today. Two big butterfly bushes there were being visit by many monarch butterflies, fluttering around & tasting the blossoms. What a treat to see so many migrating Monarchs.