Few visitors know of a very special place in New York City that can transport them to another place and time, but the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden in Staten Island does just that.

This unique and authentic garden was created in 1999 as a cooperative project between the City of New York, the Landscape Architecture Company of China, and the Metropolitan Chinese American Community, and is a compilation of different gardens in China. In fact, a team of 40 Chinese artists and craftsmen spent a year in China creating the Garden’s components, before spending another six months in Staten Island as craftsmen-in-residence at Snug Harbor Museum to complete the construction.

Based on Ming Dynasty Gardens (1368-1644), the New York Scholar’s garden is the one of two authentic scholar’s gardens in the United States. Marked with Chinese calligraphy and a peaceful quiet that encompasses the entire area, the garden adds new dimension to understanding life in ancient China and serves as a wonderful setting for special events.

The Chinese Scholar’s Garden features magnificent rock features that resemble the mountains that inspired the poetry and paintings of Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist monks. The garden also includes eight different pavilions, a bamboo forest path, waterfalls, a Koi-filled pond, and a variety of Ghongshi scholar’s rocks including a 15-foot formation that towers over the central courtyard.

Thousands of visitors enjoy the beauty of the garden’s architecture, natural plantings and koi ponds; and it’s rare to find one who does no remark on its transcendental qualities which give visitors the feeling that they have actually been transported to China. Tours are also available which can explain the history and the special meanings present in the park.

The garden is a great place for photos, writing, artwork, or just meditative reflection. Seasonal changes in foliage and sunlight also enhance visitor experience, particularly the Bamboo pathway, koi ponds, and uniquely-designed windows of the pavilions. Additionally, at certain times of year, Chinese flutists perform.