I didn’t think it could be any more beautiful than it’s been in past seasons, but the 91st Street Garden in Riverside Park continues to surprise me. Now that summer has arrived, the lush greenery and multicolored varieties of flowers have taken over the two sculpted parcels between 90th and 91st Streets.
Each time I walk by in disbelief because the garden appears more vibrant, more colorful, and more exquisite than the day before.
The Garden People are responsible for these two little slices of heaven on the Upper West Side. In 1981, a group of volunteers began planting in this location when their previous 96th Street garden was demolished for a new building. Since then, they’ve encouraged the revival of a distressed Riverside Park from the 1970s and ’80s. The Garden People brought color and vitality back to the park, and by the late ’90s, it was ready for its onscreen debut.
This area of Riverside landed a supporting role in the popular film, You’ve Got Mail, starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. The 91st Street Garden was the setting for the final scene when Joe Fox (NY 152) shows up at the park with his dog Brinkley to meet his virtual pen pal, Kathleen Kelly (Shopgirl). In case you haven’t seen it, I won’t tell you how the movie ends, but the 91st Street Garden is where the magic happens.
Today, more than 40 locals tend to their individual plots, working regularly to maintain the garden and enhance this promenade section of Riverside Park. When I’m out walking, sometimes I see the gardeners planting, raking, weeding, and nurturing what has become one of the most magnificent community gardens that I’ve seen in my lifetime.
While most people who come uptown choose Central Park, Riverside Park should not go unnoticed! Stop by the 91st Street Garden, and you too will imagine that you’re living in a Nora Ephron movie. 😉
Many thanks to the Garden People for tending to the 91st Street Garden!