New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden

The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden (NYCSG) is one of two authentic classical outdoor Chinese gardens built in the United States.

The NYCSG is a compilation of different gardens in China. It is based on Ming Dynasty gardens (1368-1644 AD). All the architectural components of the NYCSG were fabricated in Suzhou, China, including roof and floor tiles, columns and beams, doors and windows, bridges and paving materials.

The garden features magnificent rocks resembling mountains that inspired the poetry and paintings of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist monks, as well as other scholars. Visitors can explore eight pavilions, a bamboo forest path, waterfalls, a Koi-filled pond, Chinese calligraphy, and a variety of Ghongshi scholar’s rocks including a 15-foot formation that towers over the central courtyard. A team of 40 Chinese artists and craftspeople spent a year in China creating the Garden’s components and another six months in Staten Island as craftsmen-in-residence at Snug Harbor to complete the construction. 

Snug Harbor partnered with the City of New York, the Landscape Architecture Company of China, the Metropolitan Chinese American Community and hundreds of volunteers to build the NYCSG, which opened in 1999.

Fun facts about the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden:
• No nails or glue were used in the garden’s construction. Rather, the wooden elements are joined together through a sophisticated mortise-and-tenon system characteristic of traditional Chinese construction.

• Bridges and paths frequently zigzag, providing visitors with ever-changing vantages to experience the garden. Chinese philosophers also believed that zigzagging paths would throw off evil spirits.

• The mosaic on the upper pavilion incorporates broken pieces of rice bowls, representing China, and broken beer bottles, representing America. The craftspeople wanted to incorporate both materials as a symbol of harmony and unity between the two nations.

The NYCSG is located at the southwest corner of campus, near the Healing Garden and the Connie Gretz Secret Garden, with the entrance at Cottage E right across Cottage Row from Harbor Eats and the Carl Grillo Glass House.


The NYCSG will be open for tours only on April 6 and April 7. Tours begin at 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM.

2024 Spring and Early Summer Hours

Beginning April 14, 2024:
Wednesday – Sunday | 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Bonus Open Days: None at this time

Enter via Cottage E on Cottage Row.  The last admission into the garden is 30 mins before that day’s closure.


None at this time


Purchase tickets to tour the NYCSG in March and April 2024 here. Tour tickets are $10 per visitor.

NYCSG General Admission (beginning late spring 2024):

  • $5 for adults
  • $4 for seniors (65+) and students
  • Free for children 5 and under, active military (Blue Star program), and Snug Harbor Member

The entrance to the NYCSG is at Cottage E, on Cottage Row across from Harbor Eats and the Allee. To book a class trip or group tour, visit Snug Harbor Education for details.


Join the Friends of the Chinese Scholar’s Garden: a philanthropy circle which recognizes patrons who are deeply committed to its ongoing upkeep and legacy. Friends of the Chinese Scholar’s Garden make an annual donation of $250 or more dedicated to the garden’s operations, ongoing maintenance, and programming. These funds will help Snug Harbor in stewarding this local treasure for generations to come.

Programming in the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden is supported in part by the New York City Council’s Cultural Immigrant Initiative, administered by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.