New York City is known for many things beautiful—architecture, a rainbow of diverse cultures, and its fabulous skyline, but let's face it, outside of Central and Prospect Parks, most people aren't aware of how much park land actually exists in the city.
Well, how green is New York City and its five boroughs? You might be surprised to find out that, according to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, there are more than 1,700 parks citywide encompassing around 28,000 acres. Park properties range from swimming pools and skating rinks to gardens, nature trails, wetlands and woodlands.
And adding to this mix, some co-op and condo buildings have been working hard to integrate some greenery into the overall rather monochromatic exterior by converting unused areas such as rooftops, courtyards, alleyways and empty lots into strikingly lush community gardens.
There are already many rooftop gardens on commercial buildings (Rockefeller Center, for one) and community gardens throughout the city, including one at 6th Street and Avenue B in the East Village, and the West Side Community Garden on West 89th Street.
Residents are reaping the environmental, cultural, social and psychological benefits of these gardens. "Studies show that being close to plants in general will elevate moods and increase productivity," says Julie Bawden Davis, author of Indoor Gardening the Organic Way. "Plants also give us oxygen, and they are the only thing on the planet that filter and get rid of CO2. Cities are also trying to lower the temperature and put in green spaces. Plus, the prettier the environment, the more the people would want to live there."