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The Country in the City

The sustainable green roof on top of Chris and Lisa Goode’s penthouse.  

A home-design issue, now, with all that’s going on? Economic panic, a fraught political campaign, economic panic, economic panic; it might seem ill timed to turn our backs on the news and extol beautiful design.

But then again. This issue, dedicated to cultivated interiors and exteriors both, has been months in the scouting and planning (necessary when the subjects of the photo shoot have short growing seasons to consider). And it began to occur to us that it wasn’t so discordant after all; when things are scary, where better to seek solace than in a garden? There are some unbelievable ones out there. A cultivated green space, in New York City, is quite a project. All the typical hauling and watering and weeding is made more complicated by questions like, “How do I get five tons of topsoil up to the roof?” (The answer is here). Still, people do it. A terrace vegetable garden in Harlem, a backyard built for dinner parties in Brooklyn, a penthouse that feels like California, and for the rest of us, hundreds of community gardens across all five boroughs. For such a concrete-identified city, New Yorkers are remarkably dedicated to their horticulture.

Whether we’re the gardeners or merely the grateful recipients, being around green makes us slow down a moment and think about something other than global Sturm und Drang. So consider the next 30 pages a respite from the storm, and allow yourself a deep, calming breath.

Honey, It’s Time to Mow the Roof
A penthouse apartment with two—TWO—levels of garden.
Dinner Under the Trees
A backyard that’s bigger than most one-bedrooms is a good reason to throw more parties.
Let Fly
From a rooftop aerie in Williamsburg, John Neilko tends his flock.
Step Onto the Terrace, Please
A Harlem rooftop garden is a one-man greenmarket.
Local Heroes
There are over 600 community green spaces in the city, from little squares to sprawling gardens.
Kind of Feels Like California, Doesn’t It?
Except it’s on lower Fifth Avenue.