When I first visited New York in 2009, my first impression was woah, this place is vertical. Even though the buildings spread out more the further you get away from Manhattan, residents still need to make the most of every inch of possible space. So while people in the country enjoy acres of green land to rear their chickens and grow their tomatoes, here they rely on window ledges, balconies and rooftops.
Today Ryan and I tracked down an entire farm that has been crammed onto a rooftop of a warehouse – the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It was a beautiful day so we wandered from Williamsburg in the sunshine – but when we reached the correct street, it was hard to believe anything was there. After following the signs and taking the stairs, we eventually found the little patch of green.
The farm, which is 6,000 square feet, seemed pretty limited in its variety because of the logistics of keeping a rooftop farm – but I love the idea. There were rows of herbs, chilies, radishes and flowers and even a chicken coop. And of course, there was that spectacular view.
The farm, which is open for a few hours every weekend, is run by a group of volunteer farmers who sell the produce on site and bicycle some of it to local restaurants. This weekend, their mini market stall was showcasing their chilies with some homemade hot sauce. We took a look and a taste – they were fruity and hot, hot, hot!
Seeing that a couple of the plants were a bit parched made us realize how hard it would be to keep the farm watered and cared for, so this is an impressive project. The produce is pretty select, so you’re not exactly going to go there to fill your cupboards, but it’s worth a wander to see what they’re up to – and to get a view of the rooftops and Manhattan.
The farm, which is at 44 Eagle Street in Greenpoint (a few blocks from the G train at Greenpoint Ave), is open from 1pm until 4pm every Sunday during the growing season. Check out the calendar here.