If you need a taste of summer—but with actual AC—you can stroll through a luscious green garden right in the middle of NYC, any time of year!
Tucked all the way at the end of 42nd Street (between 2nd Ave. and the United Nations Plaza), the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice is a true hidden treasure of New York City.
With sunlight streaming in on multiple sides, the 160-foot tall atrium holds nearly 40 species of trees, vines, and shrub. There is also a reflecting pool, and a sensory garden with plant life you are encouraged to touch and smell.
The Garden had been closed off to the public at the start of the pandemic, but it has since reopened to the delight of New Yorkers, and even served as a vaccination site in 2021.
Both the building and the atrium were completed in 1967, designed by Dan Kiley, Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo. The Cultural Landscape Foundation states that “The glass walls create a temperate environment that is ideal for the atrium’s subtropical garden, while also creating a seamless flow of green space between the atrium and Tudor City Park to the east.”
The Ford Foundation is a private institution whose mission is to “reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement,” according to their website.
Another amazing part? It is FREE to enter and walk through, and is usually pretty empty! There is also an art gallery that is free to enter as well, open Monday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm.
Where: 320 E 43rd St., New York
When: Monday – Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m when an exhibition is on view.