6. Alphabet City has about 30 community gardens
As with the East Village more broadly, Alphabet City has more community gardens than most (if not all) of the city. According to the GreenThumb Garden Map, there are about 30 community gardens between Avenues A and D and between East Houston Street and East 10th Street. This equates to almost one community garden for each block. One of the more notable ones is 6BC Botanical Garden (named for being on East 6th Street between Avenues B and C, as well as for “botanical” and “community”). 6BC was built in an empty, rubble-filled lot in the early 1980s, and over the last four decades, the garden has been cared for by volunteers and artists who have contributed their artwork. Many of the gardens, including 6BC, have faced threats of destruction by developers looking to build residential properties, though NYC Parks now protect many of them.
Another notable one is the Kenkeleba House Garden, an outdoor sculpture area of the Kenkeleba House art gallery. Named for a West African plant, the gallery and sculpture garden have featured artworks predominantly by African Americans, as well as other artists of color. The 6th Street & Avenue B Garden is another popular location with a small pond, a small stage, and lots of different plants. There are about five gardens within a block radius on Avenue C, including the 9th Street Community Garden, La Plaza Cultural, and the Flower Door Garden. Others are a bit more obscure, including the aptly named Secret Garden, Fireman’s Memorial Garden, and the Lower East Side Ecology Center.