Annual Report | March 28, 2024

Annual Report 2023: Building Green Spaces

NYRP renovated The Bronx's Bissel Gardens—New York City's largest community garden—in 2023. Photo credit: Ben Hider

The following blog post is an excerpt from our 2023 annual report.

Since it began over a decade ago, NYRP’s Gardens for the City (GFTC) program has completely renovated or built over 300 green spaces throughout New York City. This includes 17 new gardens in 2023 alone, with at least one in every borough.

The program is community-driven: interested groups with available open space can apply to NYRP for free garden design consultation, materials, and labor to help achieve their vision. NYRP then prioritizes applications from the city’s least green and historically most underserved neighborhoods. Property types where we ultimately work span almost every gathering space imaginable including existing gardens, schools, parks, courtyards, houses of worship, assisted living facilities, and multiple rooftops.

NYRP’s Director of Garden Horticulture & Citywide Greening Projects Jason Sheets has led the program since it began. He’s seen many changes over time but believes that 2023 marked one of GFTC’s most notable evolutions to date thanks to the full incorporation of NYRP’s urban agriculture consultation for partners. Once the GFTC crew finishes a build or renovation, the partner can choose to opt-in to a year of free, personalized urban agriculture guidance from NYRP—and most do.

This integrated programming took on a new scale this past year with the renovation of New York City’s largest community garden, Bissel Gardens, in the Wakefield section of The Bronx. The project was GFTC’s largest renovation to date, covering most of Bissel’s 2.5-acre property.

With the support of the Viking Global Foundation and the help of a stellar crew of over 180 Viking volunteers over three weeks last September, NYRP removed trash, planted perennials, supplied clean soil, and laid the foundation for NYRP’s urban agriculture consultation in 2024.

“The work that was done at Bissel Gardens is beautiful,” says Maria Frias-Fitzsimmons, a Wakefield community member. “NYRP was here for a few weeks and was able to do what no one could. Bissel Gardens finally looks like a little piece of paradise.”

“The Bissel Gardens renovation was a milestone for the Gardens for the City program,” reflects Jason. “Bissel is the largest community garden in the city and needed some major infrastructure improvements, and NYRP delivered. I think our efforts combined with Viking’s support and volunteers and the wants and needs of the garden group coalesced in a really nice way in this project. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish as we partner on urban agriculture this coming year.”

NYRP’s Gardens for the City program completed the following green space projects in 2023:


Bissel Gardens (Wakefield)
Daly Avenue Community Garden/Perry’s Garden (Crotona)
Niño de la Caridad (Fordham)
PS 360 (Kingsbridge Heights)


Amboy Street Community Garden (Brownsville)
Brooklyn Public Library—Flatbush (Flatbush)
John Dewey High School (Gravesend)
Liberation Diploma Plus High School (Coney Island)
Lutheran Social Services of New York (Boerum Hill)
Success Community Garden (New Lots)
Wolcott Street Farm (Red Hook)


Encore Community Services (Hell’s Kitchen)
Garden of Perseverance (East Harlem)
The Lower Eastside Girls Club (Lower East Side)


34th Avenue Medians (Jackson Heights)


Alice Austen House Museum (Rosebank)
Skyline Playground Community Garden (New Brighton)

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