New York is huge, fast-paced, exciting and glamorous, but sometimes, it’s just too much. When pushing a stroller down streets packed with movers and shakers while you inhale that only-in-NYC patented aroma of rotting garbage sprinkled with canine urine has you dreaming of the burbs, take comfort in an escape that only those-in-the-know can find – community gardens.

These urban oases are hidden throughout the city, often in the most unexpected – but desperately – needed places. Check out some of our favorites below. You might discover a spot of serenity right in your own neighborhood. Or even one worthy of venturing further!

Truce Community Garden
Need a green space uptown? Check out the community garden at 117th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. Learn all about bokashi, a Japanese method of composting, when you plant your Earth Pickles, join a Community Earth Plot, pick up tips on German gardening during a Green Exchange, or grab some sunflower seeds your kids can tend to at home. This garden is all about reaching out to the communities beyond their own, exchanging ideas and trying to encourage others to copy their efforts and create even more patches of green all over NYC.

Do you have a favorite pastoral spot to get away from it all in NYC? With the kids or – shh, don’t tell anyone! – without them? Let us know!  

— Alina Adams