Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Gardens of the Columbia Street Waterfront District

In addition to our sought-after playground, the Mother Cabrini Park, the CSWD has 5 community gardens, which is more than most neighborhoods. Each has it's own feel and personality. They were born from vacant lots filled with garbage, refuse, and weeds, and are a testimony of the resilience of this community. They all run on the same environmental thought: reduce waste, reuse material and recycle (most have compost bins).

On the corner of Sackett and Columbia stands the Human Compass Garden (1992), filled with trees, and somewhat sheltered from the street. It is the one with the most shade, I would recommend it on a particularly hot afternoon, for a quiet read or a reflective lunch.

From there, walk along Columbia, and in front of the B61 Carroll St stop is The Amazing Garden (1994), open, lush and ready for barbecuing with your friends and family.

On the next block is the Summit Garden (1993), extremely lush, with inviting benches.

Then take a right down Summit St, past the Gowanus Nursery, to the corner on Van Brunt and Hamilton Avenue, in front of the American Stevedoring Inc, and you will come to The Backyard (1997). In colonial times, the shore ran through the garden making the land's high-water table unsuitable for construction, but ideal for spreading greenery. It has many nooks and crannies, a wide open area for gatherings, and cultivated lots.

In the summer, the community garden volunteers of all of 4 of the above gardens put on a series of movies, Reels on Wheels, yielding bid crowds to all the gardens.

The latest addition to this list is the Urban Meadow (2008), which will be offering something completely different: feeling the grass between your toes and laying down on a blanket with friends and family for a nap or picnic.

Now that summer is here, its time to start spending more time outdoors, and the community gardens of the neighborhood are a great place to do it.

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