Jackson Heights Garden Tour

We moved to the Jackson Heights section of New York City from Manhattan about two years ago. It is a beautiful neighborhood and, reputedly, the first in America to be designed around principles outlined by the garden city movement proposed in 1898 by urban planner Howard Ebenezer. The area was developed by Edward A. MacDougall's Queensboro Corporation beginning around 1916.

Today, as seen by the photographs below that I took this spring, Jackson Heights is still full of lovely gardens (luckily most of them are protected as a historic district). Some of the spaces and buildings are in disrepair. Others are immaculately maintained by devoted committees of coop members and look better now than they do in early archival pictures. (An image of The Towers apartment building is above).

You can see these private gardens on the Jackson Heights Beautification Group garden tour this weekend. Here's more information from their website:

Self-Guided Tour of Private Interior Gardens from 12 noon to 4:00 p.m. These park-like private gardens, surrounded by 1920s-era garden apartments, are open to the public only once a year. Visit up to nine gardens at your own pace, following a map included in your ticket. Tickets can be purchased in advance or in front of the Community Church (81-10 35th Ave), on Saturday morning; $10

Sunday, 6/14
Escorted Walking Tours of the Historic District (rain or shine) at 12 noon. Tickets must be purchased or reserved in advance. The tours will meet in front of the Community Church, on the southwestern corner of 82nd Street and 35th Avenue; $10

Tickets are $10 for one tour, $15 for both tours. Tickets may be purchased beginning June 1 at Espresso 77 (35-57 77th Street) and Beaudoin Realty Group (78-27 37th Avenue, Suite 5, Second Floor) weekdays 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. For further information and directions leave a message at 718-565-5344 or email us. Rain date for Garden Tour: June 20. All other events rain or shine.

St Mark's Episcopal Church on 34th Avenue

The Chateau apartments, 34th Avenue at 80th Street

An streetside garden at The Towers on 34th Avenue

These stone gryphons at the Towers have become symbols of the neighborhood.

Streetside gardens

The interior garden of The Towers could use a little more planting but is holding up fairly well

Loggia apartments at The Towers

86th Street between 35th and 34th Avenues

Arts and Crafts duplexes with front and back yards on 86th Street

A 1921 New York Times article about Jackson Heights and its development. Read it here.

The interior garden of The Chateau c 1928

An early aerial view of Jackson Heights showing the first stages of development

A view of a garden that doesn't seem to exist anymore from the Garden Club (location unknown)

The Towers, c 1930s

An early photograph of 80th Street and 37th Avenue, now the center of Jackson Heights' shopping district

The interior of the Hawthorne Court, c 1928. I have several friends who have moved into this coop recently and they are very involved with the beautiful gardens there.

The Chateau and street plantings in the 1920s
The interior garden at Linden Court

The Fairway Apartments were built next to expansive golf courses (no longer extant)

The Berkeley as viewed over the old golf courses which are now replaced by apartment buildings

An early ad to attract commuters to Jackson Heights

The corner of 34th Avenue and 80th Street, c 1928. It doesn't like this pristine these days


Chad said...

Great research!

AO said...

Loved it! You made my lunch half hour. I forwarded it to my neighbor as well.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned the interior gardens at the Towers need more planting but your photo was taken in early spring. I suggest you come back and take another look, and photo to be reprinted, as it is more abundant now with new growth, perennials, annuals, etc that were not shown in your photo.

Stephen Orr said...

Thanks for letting me know. I will go take a look!

Anonymous said...


I was wondering if you could tell me where you go the vintage advertisement " look east to Jackson Heights'

I am working on a project about mass transit and the development of Queens along the 7 train.

Thank you!

Brigid Harmon