visitors enjoying the benches inside the park
Like many community gardens the Jefferson Market Garden (located in Greenwich Village) and the land it sits upon have a unique history. The garden began in 1974 as a viewing garden to be seen in passing, but eventually opened its doors to the public.
The site was originally an area for merchants to gather, which was later taken over to build a Courthouse. The garden itself is built on the rubble of the Women's House of Detention which was built beside the Courthouse in 1931, and demolished in 1973. They claim to still dig up artifacts from those days while tending the flower beds.
The garden is cohesive and well planned out in the way that an estate or the grounds at a botanical garden might be, with a walking path bordering an oval lawn and running along planting beds, a small pond with a shaded woodland garden, a rose garden, and even a greenhouse.
The volunteers at the garden explained the reason for this is because the garden has a central plan that is overseen by a horticulturist. Volunteers work as a group on Mondays to keep up the entire grounds, rather than a community garden system where everyone keeps their own independent plot. The phrase 'community garden' is not used on their website (that I saw) and this may be intentional. But the garden still is open to everyone and gives visitors the opportunity to get their hands in the soil.
After sitting and taking a rest on the cozy benches inside, I cannot imagine being able to only enjoy the park by viewing through the gates. It truly is a wonderful place to relax.
matt at apartment therapy dot com