As mentioned in my previous post, I was in New York City in February and had a chance to explore locally. One of the ideas I came across was to visit the garden at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, located on 42nd Street and 2nd Avenue. It was the middle of winter, the garden was indoors, and admission was free! Of course, I had to look it up!
After walking the High Line that morning and grabbing lunch, my travel partners and I took an Uber to the Ford Foundation. The Foundation has a multilevel garden and a Gallery that are wheelchair-accessible. The wheelchair entrance is on 42nd, whereas the lobby and Gallery access is from 43rd Street. Admission to both the garden and the Gallery is free.
The Ford Foundation website states they are unrelated to the Ford Motor Company. For the last 80 years, “the Ford Foundation has invested in innovative ideas, visionary individuals, and frontline institutions advancing human dignity around the world.” The Foundation has extensively “worked in civil rights, education, arts and culture, human rights, poverty reduction, and urban development.” Read more about the work of the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice here.
After walking into the lobby from 43rd Street, we descended the steps to the garden, a veritable sea of green! Tall windows several stories high shone sunlight into the atrium. The high roof of the building dwarfed several tall trees and vines. While the garden is not immense, seeing a verdant landscape in a city full of skyscrapers is striking! There are over 40 different species of trees and plants in this garden. And it takes a gardener from an outsourced company working full time to keep this place looking as incredible as it does, all year long!
We enjoyed the section with several aromatic herbs like mint, lemongrass, lavender, etc. This area is for people who are vision impaired or blind and has braille signage. Walking further down the step-like garden, we reached the reflecting pool at the base. While not forming a dense canopy, it was still impressive to look up and be embraced by vigorous plant growth in the middle of winter in New York City. It felt like a balm to be cocooned in the lap of nature, even if it was all manmade. While we mostly saw green foliage, a few trees and plants were blooming, beauties of pink and white.
After spending more time in the garden, we were ready to visit the Gallery but were told it was closed. A new exhibit was being installed, and it would reopen in April 2023. What a bummer!
If you haven’t already, visit the garden and the Gallery at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice! It’s a soothing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.
The Ford Foundation is located at 320 E 43rd St,New York, NY 10017. And is open Monday to Saturdays (when an exhibit is ongoing).