WITH FALL HAVING JUST ARRIVED, it was a perfect day to step out in Sassafras’ Fall Leaf Pants and Gardener Bud Breaker to explore the neighborhood. And sure enough, just on the other side of Houston Street, we stumbled into a serene Japanese garden. Tucked between SoHo and Greenwich Village, the Sasaki Garden in Washington Square Village is one of those few landmark greenspaces downtown where it’s actually possible to take a second to relax and enjoy a little quiet. It feels like a real oasis.
The garden was designed and built in 1959 by Japanese landscape architect Hideo Sasaki, known for his innovative Modernist public landscapes. At first, the Japanese spirit of the garden–which doesn’t have any traditional bridges or rocks–seems to be found in the Japanese crabapple trees scattered throughout the space, their leaves slowly fading into reds and oranges as summer becomes more distant. But surrounded by NYU’s looming concrete towers, it’s clear that the garden’s true Japanese spirit can be attributed to something greater, a philosophy that’s guided Japanese architecture for centuries: harmony between the natural and the built urban environment. Quite an accomplishment in downtown NYC.
We’ll be back soon.