New York tourists can find an attraction that well-represents authentic Chinese culture in the city; that’s the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden or NYCSG. It is the largest of the 14 botanical gardens of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. Just a few minutes ferry ride from busy Manhattan, the one-acre garden offers a relaxing landscape that exudes peace and tranquility.
A Reflection of Chinese Craftsmanship
The elements of the NYCSG are composed of different features of Chinese gardens. The classic gardens inspired all these during the Ming Dynasty. A renowned scholar made designs of Chinese gardens, Zou Gongwu.
A team of 40 local craftsmen and artisans in Suzhou, China, created all the architectural components used to build the garden for a year. The craftsmen stayed in Staten Island for six months to finally complete the construction, remaining true to the detailed designs of the Ming Dynasty. The assembling of the structures was made traditionally using the mortise-and-tenon system, a typical method in Chinese construction.
The Garden Views of NYCSG
The NYCSG was opened in 1991. Through the partnership of Snug Harbor with the local city, the Landscape Architecture Company of China, along with the Metropolitan Chinese American Community and volunteers, the garden now serves as a place where many Chinese people in New York are reminded of their roots. It is also a city spot that caters to anyone who wants to have some idle time to relax and reflect.
Visitors can glimpse the impressive rocks that depict the mountains, which were often subjects of Confucian, Buddhist and, Taoist monks in their poetry and paintings. They can also get to see the eight landscaped pavilions, a pathway with a lush bamboo forest, a Koi pond, and waterfalls. Some other things to see at NYCSG are the Chinese calligraphy and various Ghongshi scholars’ rocks. A 15-feet formation also towers the central courtyard area.
The enchanting zigzag design of the bridges and paths provides different vantage points of the garden. Chinese philosophers believe that building paths in this manner would throw off evil spirits.
One significant thing to note in NYCSG is the mosaic piece at the upper pavilion, made out of broken pieces of rice bowls and beer bottles. The two materials represent China and America, respectively. The artisans wanted to combine the two materials to symbolize unity and harmony among the two nations.
Stroll and have a tour around New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden. It’s a tranquil oasis you can find in the city that never sleeps.