Staten Island queer garden provides space for LGBTQ youth

Against the backdrop of the Pride flag over the Hudson River sits a garden that is proudly blooming. 

Maroon-striped flowers, juicy red strawberries, fungi, and even mugwort makes up the brand-new queer garden now on display behind the Alice Austen House Museum on Staten Island.

Alice Austen was a photographer who identified as a lesbian. Her escape and true love was gardening. It’s how she found acceptance.

"We really take the lead from Alice. The inspiration from her work and lifestyle and all the wonderful activities she was involved with. She was really quite a rebel who broke boundaries for Victorian women," said Victoria Munroe, the Executive Director of Alice Austen House.


The colorful display of plant pride was created to ensure LGBTQ youth have a safe space to be among their peers and learn about gardening.

"The intention is to welcome people in to have the conversation," said Horticulturist Marisa Prefer.

The New York Restoration Project, a nonprofit known for its numerous green spaces in all 5 boroughs, helped with the queer garden’s installation.

"Gardens are incredibly healing places. I find plants are an amazing teacher," Pfefer said. "The more time I spend sitting with plants in my day, the happier I am."