Queens Botanical Garden, One of the Best Spots in U.S.

October 7, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

GREAT ARCHITECTURE: The Queens Botanical Garden building. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)
GREAT ARCHITECTURE: The Queens Botanical Garden building. (Jeff Goldberg/Esto)
The iconic Queens Botanical Garden was listed as one of the 10 Great Public Spaces for 2009 on Oct. 7, bringing the total number of “great places” in New York State to six.

The Great Places of America program was started by the American Planning Association (APA) to recognize outstanding architectural locations throughout the nation. The association has taken on the duty of locating and listing the best places in the country for living, working, and vacationing.

“We identified early on that as a botanical garden and environmental organization, if we weren’t going to showcase smart environmental design, who would?” said Susan Lucerte, executive director of the Queens Botanical Garden, in a press release.

The Queens Botanical Garden gained fame in 1939 for hosting the World’s Fair, an international exhibition attended by millions.

Factors that influenced the APA’s decision to choose the garden included its recycling of rain water and the garden’s good use of its 39-acre lot to promote the neighborhood’s different ethnicities.

“It was our strong connections with the local community and its diverse ethnic groups that was essential to moving the garden into the next phase of its history. …” Lucerte said.

The APA and the Great Places of America program consider architecture, efficiency, and community involvement when assessing locations.

“We’re very excited to single out Queens Botanical Garden as one of this year’s Great Public Spaces. The garden has set a new standard to follow when it comes to planning public spaces that not only conserve natural resources, but also take into account a community’s varying social and cultural needs,” said Paul Farmer, APA chief executive officer.

“The result is a public space that is very special, and all of the people that made this possible are to be commended,” he said.

To learn more about the Great Spaces of America program visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.