6. Liz Christy Garden
On the northeast corner of Bowery and Houston Streets in Manhattan is the Liz Christy Garden, billed as “the first community garden in New York City.” According to the garden’s website, it was founded in 1973 by a local resident named Liz Christy and a garden activist group called the Green Guerillas. During that time, Christy and the garden activists planted trees in vacant lots and grew plants in window boxes around the area. They stumbled across the then-vacant lot and saw an opportunity to create a green space in the area. They went to the city to gain official access to the patch of land, and by December, volunteers cleared out the rubble, installed a fence and began planting.
The city’s office of Housing Preservation and Development approved the garden for $1 rent in April 1974 and it was called the Bowery Houston Community Farm and Garden. In 1986 the garden was dedicated as the Liz Christy Garden in memory of its founder. There were efforts by the Cooper Square Committee in 1990 and New York State and the Attorney General in 2002 to preserve the garden in the midst of urban development. Today, the garden spans over one acre of land and has a pond, a variety of trees, gardens with vegetables, berries, herbs and perennials.