One of the things that I like most about my job is seeing things that are hidden from public view: swanky apartments, crazy views of Central Park, the miles of corridors in the basements of buildings on the way to the service elevator. A burning question at any townhouse is, what’s in the backyard? Gardens are always inaccessible to the public, hidden away from any view except the neighbor’s windows.
This backyard is in the east 40’s. It’s unusual because the gardens of the townhouses all join together in an interconnecting maze full of stone sculptures and little iron gates. Imagine a warm summer evening, people drifting between the gardens, booze, music, everyone laughing, a big happy party. Here’s the same garden again, from another angle.
The back yard below is on Perry Street in the West Village, another interconnected garden, this one without any fences or gates, a wild tangle of overgrown bushes and trees, a tiny 18th Century gravestone in one corner, with little cleared spots containing chairs and tables for a summer meal.
Now we’re in the East 60’s, where you’d expect to see a posh formal arrangement, but we’re looking off a back balcony into the wilds of under-tended buildings, neglected and decayed. It feels like a deserted old house, overgrown and fading away.