Tompkins Square Park serves as the funky, tree-shaded crossroads of New York’s East Village. But like a leafy patchwork quilt, there are many other unexpected pockets of green space sprinkled throughout the eclectic downtown neighborhood.
One such urban oasis, the 6BC Botanical Garden, on East 6th Street between Avenues B and C, was founded in 1981 when the block (and the entire neighborhood) was still blighted with burned-out buildings and tenement squats. Neighborhood residents cleared the mid-block parcel, maintained their own garden plots, and helped to keep up the common areas.
In the mid-1990s, 6BC became an official botanical garden that is, according to its website, “devoted to biodiversity, horticultural education, neighborhood beautification, and community programming.” Though still run day to day by its members, 6BC was absorbed into the NYC Parks Department in 1999, which ensures it will remain a public green space, albeit one with limited hours of access.
Still artsy, countercultural, and favored by misfits, outsiders, and creative types of all stripes, the East Village is also well along the seemingly inevitable path of gentrification and, hence, popular nowadays by the sorts of city dwellers who can drop several to many millions of dollars on a luxury apartment in the birthplace of America’s punk rock scene.
A modern five-unit boutique condominium building, designed by DXA Studio and completed in 2022, was conceived to take maximum advantage of its plum location directly across from 6BC. Dubbed La Botanica, each of the biophilic building’s five luxury units (even the 400-square-foot ground-floor studio!) has a floor-to-ceiling wall of south-facing glass that looks toward, into, or over 6BC, giving each unit a sense of open space and connection to nature that’s uncommon in such a dense urban setting.
Most of La Botanica’s condos are spoken for but one unit remains on the market at $5.25 million, down a bit from the original ask of $5.5 million. Measuring a bit more than 3,000 square feet with four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms, the family-sized spread cleverly employs a couple of sunken courtyards to bring natural light into the lower two floors, one of which is fully subterranean.
An elevator opens directly into the triplex’s top floor, where a glass-railed staircase winds down to the lower two floors. At the front, the L-shaped living and dining room’s 23-foot-wide wall of glass makes the fluttering treetops across the street an ever-changing eye-catcher. At the back, the gleaming, all-white minimalist kitchen leads out to a T-shaped terrace that overlooks not just a pair of sunken courtyards but also the verdant rear gardens of the surrounding buildings.
All four of the bedrooms, including the primary suite, overlook and/or open to one of the courtyard patios through floor-to-ceiling walls of glass. Even the underground lowest level, with a powder room, laundry area, and tons of built-in storage, draws natural light through two walls of glass that open to a 100-square-foot courtyard.
Living up to the building’s name, there are few apartments in lower Manhattan where every room has such a direct and visually influential connection to a garden or landscaped outdoor space. Listed with Jill Preschel, Kirsten Jordan, and Gianna Vigliotti, all of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the one-of-a-kind triplex is also available with its mix of new and vintage furnishings.