For a beautiful escape from the thick of the concrete jungle, there’s no need to leave the five boroughs. The idyllic Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is only a short bus ride away from the Staten Island Ferry, and it offers a day of galavanting through gardens, checking out museums and art galleries, sampling from an on-site organic farm, or taking in a performance at the century-old auditorium. The 28 building campus was once a home for retired sailors, but it has been transformed into a day-trip destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike.
Staten Island‘s Snug Harbor is home to some of New York’s most historic buildings, and is also the United States’ largest adaptive reuse project. The Greek Revival buildings once inhabited and used by American sailors have been converted to art studios, museums, and other cultural centers that the whole family can enjoy. The buildings have been triple landmarked– by the city, state and country -preserving an important piece of maritime history.
Aside from the gorgeous architecture, visitors can wander the endless gardens and bountiful meadows. The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden and the 18th Century style Tuscan Garden encourage tranquil solitude, while the healing garden and children’s hedge maze invite interaction and playful fun. Kids can learn about pesticide-free organic farming on the working farm, and adults can buy fresh fruits and veggies grown on-site.
The magical landscape is a glimpse of New York’s history and lets visitors wander the miniature village on the water’s edge, taking in vistas just as the sailors did for decades.
Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat
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