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Trees Grow in Brooklyn

Last week, I ventured from my cozy nest in Jersey City to Brooklyn, the epicenter of the contemporary creative world in New York. I didn’t seek out live music, funky cafes, eclectic bookshops, or farm-to-table restaurants. I rode the subway to Brooklyn to enjoy nature.

Yes, nature.


Yes, this is Brooklyn. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden on an April afternoon. (Photograph by author)

In a recent blog post, I argued for policy makers to include the natural world in developing (or redeveloping) neighborhoods and cities. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden stands as an example of what enlightened urban design and planning might achieve: a lush oasis of flora and fauna in the heart of a concrete landscape.

I spent an afternoon in the Garden, sitting in the shade, jotting in my notebook, and simply enjoying the moment. The garden was full of like-minded urbanites strolling through the paths, snapping photos of flowers, and sharing a day with their friends and family.

A recent study demonstrated that spending just twenty minutes with nature greatly decreases stress. No real surprise. When I left the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, I felt refreshed and eager to begin the rest of my day.

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