Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights’ largest public garden: The other vista of the Heights Promenade

July 14, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gardener Matthew Morrow watering the diverse plants of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade Garden. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane
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Thousands of tourists walk onto the Brooklyn Heights Promenade every day to capture the iconized view of lower Manhattan in their closing camera lenses and wide eyes. But steps away, right behind, the view is the Promenade Garden that sports four-season species of colorful flowers and various other plants all maintained by the public.

“It’s basically the neighborhood’s backyard,” the garden’s professional gardener, Matthew Morrow told the Brooklyn Eagle. “People are mostly coming here to see that landscape, which is great, but several of them … have been turning around and looking at the gardens, and all of the comments are positive.”

The Promenade Garden Conservancy was established in 2009 to save and beautify the 1,826-foot-long green space that borders the promenade.

An agreement between the NYC Parks Department and the Brooklyn Heights Association led to the shrub-based gardens being upgraded with the planting of more than 10,000 bulbs and the commitment of more than 40 volunteers.

“I won’t say it’s a family operation,” Morrow said. “But everybody here has a stake in it.”

The gardens are comprised of more than two acres that separate private backyards from the promenade.

Morrow, who has been the gardener for four and a half years, continues to introduce new species to the garden and the community continues to give its energy for the upkeep, logging in tens of thousands of volunteer hours each year.

With the rehabilitation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Brooklyn Heights Promenade expected to begin in 2021 or 2022, there is a high possibility that sections of the garden will have to be removed.

But Morrow, who says the garden “has been developing a personality,” said it will bounce back from any harm.

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