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11 Peaceful Gardens, Courtyards, and Parks to Visit in New York City

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Few things are as coveted in New York City as green spaces. In the summertime especially, we all search for nature-filled areas to escape the noise, crowds, and pace of city life. We all know of the world-famous parks and gardens the area has to offer, but what about the lesser-known green spots—the secret gardens, hidden courtyards, and easily missed parks?

No one knows the hidden gems of New York City better than our agents. So we asked them to share their favorite outdoor hideaways so that we can explore them for ourselves. Take a look at the hidden outdoor spaces they recommended, and find your new favorite place to unwind.

Greenacre Park Turtle Bay

A beautiful urban green space nestled between Second and Third Avenues on 51st Street, Greenacre Park is a serene escape from the bustle of the city. It features a 25-foot-high waterfall flowing down a granite wall, a rarity in New York City. “It’s truly a hidden gem,” Ali Rubenstein says.

Half-Moon Overlook Spuyten Duyvil

An intimate space on Palisade Avenue in Spuyten Duyvil, Half-Moon Overlook faces west and gives you a view of where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers meet. The small park is named for Henry Hudson’s ship, the Halve Maen, and it is a beautiful perch to watch the sunset from and forget you’re in a big city.

Recommended by the Sanjya Tidke Team of our Riverdale office

Amster Yard Turtle Bay

Tucked behind Instituto Cervantes, the Spanish Cultural Institute, Amster Yard is a true hidden gem. Its iron grille work, wrought-iron chairs, and beautiful greenery give the courtyard refuge a distinctly Victorian atmosphere.

Recommended by Vivian Ducat of our Harlem office

Palma West Village

“On a charming single-block street tucked away in the West Village is a restaurant that understands how to do garden dining right,” Janet Weiner shares. “With farmhouse décor and flowers everywhere, you are transported to a romantic trattoria in Italy.”

At Palma, attention to detail resonates in everything. "The garden in back, overflowing with flowers and roses, is not to be missed," she says. "Its retractable glass ceiling makes outdoor dining possible year-round.”

Janet recommends booking a table in the private carriage house for an intimate dinner party, while reserving the garden for a more festive event like an engagement or birthday party. “Dining in the garden at Palma is like taking a weekend getaway in the Italian countryside without leaving New York.”

Recommended by Janet Weiner of our Village office

Two elevated spaces above 42nd Street and First Avenue offer a breath of fresh, quiet air above the maddening crowds below. The gardens are maintained by a neighborhood non-profit and boast much-needed shade, flower beds, benches, and gorgeous views.

Tudor City Greens, Manhattan, 42nd Street and First Avenue

Recommended by Maisha Shahid of our Marketing Department.

The West Side Community Garden hidden between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues, is a serene hideaway with a stunning atmosphere and many free music and theater events.

Recommended by Amelia Gewirtz of our West Side office

St. Luke’s Garden West Village

A green oasis in the West Village, the garden belonging to The Church of St. Luke in the Fields is a home for flowers, berries, birds, and butterflies.

Recommended by Bo Poulsen of our Village office

The Elevated Acre Financial District

Take the escalator at 55 Water Street to discover an expansive urban oasis above the bustle of the Financial District. Here you will find landscaped gardens, a lawn, winding paths, a beer garden, and an amphitheater. The views are pretty incredible, too.

Recommended by Alexander Powers of our Marketing Department

The oldest community garden in New York City, this green space was established by Liz Christy and a group of “green guerrillas” that cleaned up and beautified the then vacant lot.

Today, you can find a pond, wildflower habitat, weeping birch trees, vegetable gardens, a grape arbor, and more.

Recommended by Ali Rubenstein of our Marketing Department.

Columbia Manhattanville Courtyard Manhattanville

Walking alongside the Jerome L. Greene Science Center at Columbia University's Manhattanville campus, you will come upon a lovely courtyard with shade-providing trees and colorful chairs and benches. “A breeze off the river makes it a very pleasant place to sit,” Vivian Ducat says.

Recommended by Vivian Ducat of our Harlem office

Public Hotel Garden Lower East Side

The Public Hotel has the popular Bowery Garden on its rooftop, but for a more casual atmosphere, try the small garden directly in front of the building on Chrystie Street. The space has picnic tables for you to enjoy a meal (consider getting something from the Jean-Georges food bar inside) and have a nice respite from the city.

Recommended by Bo Poulsen of our Village office


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