A garden is inherently a place of growth, for plants and for New York City children. Growing up here, I once turned to my father and complained that I didn’t have a backyard. My father, a writer who’d left a home with a backyard where it was impossible to grow, came to downtown Manhattan where anything was possible. Even gardens surrounded by tenements. He looked puzzled, then irate. There were gardens, there were parks. Children on the Lower East Side plant and play in spaces that have been tended to by the community. It does indeed take a village.
A garden can be an escape as much as it is an extension of home. It just isn’t as often outside of your door. Thankfully, New Yorkers are used to traveling many blocks for what they need.
A garden can also be a political act, of taking something once private, then left behind, and giving it new life. Giving a community local sustainability. By showing that something beautiful, something that continues to grow — Is a community’s growth.