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!

Clinton Community Garden
Created in 1977 by Hell’s Kitchen residents who cleared out the rubble from a long-vacant lot and began planting it with flowers, herbs, fruits, and vegetables, the Clinton Community Garden is organized into two main sections. There is a Front Garden and a Back Garden. The Front Garden is the one open to the public on weekends. They hold a regular compost collection every Saturday, and while children are allowed, pets are not. Find it on West 48th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues.

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