High above the streets of Long Island City on busy Northern Boulevard sitting atop the old Standard Motors building, sits a roof top soil farm – The Brooklyn Grange Farm. One of three farms owned and operated by the Brooklyn Grange green roofing businesses.

I had planned to spend the day wandering the neighborhood looking for more fall color on this gorgeous October Saturday but, then I read about this local Queens farm online while having breakfast and knew I had to make a visit. I grabbed the camera and walked up Ditmars to the train station taking a few shots of any leaf or berry color that I saw among the trees along the way.  I alighted from the N train at 39th Avenue and 31st Street, capturing a few urban shots as I walked over to Northern Boulevard and 38th street where the farm awaited.

To gain entrance I walked through the Coffeed Shop, and followed hand written signs posted on the walls as I wound through a labyrinth of hall ways into a huge factory elevator that would take me “Up on the Roof“. When the elevator stopped and the doors opened – Bang! I was on the farm. People were busily watering, digging and  hoeing, chickens were clucking and rows of wonderful things were growing under the warm October sun. I was pleasantly bowled over.

What lack of color there was in the trees this day, was made up for by the vivid eye arresting colors of the vegetation before spread out before me. The colors of the rainbow were in the stems of the Swiss Chard. Curly lettuce in hues of green and dark maroon. Pushing through the soil were tiny bouquets of jade green and purple sprouts. Shiny black, yellow, red and orange peppers, both sweet and hot, glistened in the autumn light. Kale seemed to be the biggest crop and although, I am not a fan of Kale, I love photographing its dark green tightly curled leaves.

Delicate wild flowers in a mix of spring and fall colors, that they sold in big bunches, were everywhere adding their colors to this scene of urban husbandry. Even the pigeons were enjoying their visit to the farm, cooing and flapping and feasting on freshly sown seed.

I hope you enjoy this unique city farmstead tour through my eyes.





11 thoughts on “The Urban Charm of a Roof Top Farm

  1. I’m floored! Eddie lived just a couple blocks from there for years and never knew it was there. Your colors are beautiful and the leaves so crisp and curly. And how did you get the chickens to smile for the camera 🙂


  2. Charming, indeed and the colors of nature with a beautiful blue sky as a background are exhilarating!!! As always, breathtaking color and imagery – an enticement for the eyes to see more and a treat for the senses, not to mention a strange desire for a healthy salad!!! An interesting, urban approach to city farming.


  3. I love the idea of rooftop gardens and farms… all buildings should be constructed with this in mind! Have to say my favorite shots are of the chard! I understand your feeling about kale, I had to train myself to eat it and now I enjoy it as a part of my salad.


  4. What a brilliant place. Great photos. I have grown kale this year – haven’t exactly fallen in love with it but it does seem to survive well (so far!). Wish we could grow peppers outside but we just never get enough sunny days in a row.


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