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.

2023 HOURS

April 19 – October 1, 2023
Wednesday – Friday, 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

First Fridays of the Month (May 5, June 2, July 7, August 4, September 1): Free admission for Staten Island residents upon showing proof of address.

Courtesy of the Staten Island City Council Delegation, with funding support from the Cultural Immigrant Initiative, administered by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Bonus Open Days:

No bonus open days at present

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


September 27, 2023: The NYCSG will close at 5:00 PM, with last tickets sold for 4:00 PM

September 30, 2023: The NYCSG will close at 1:00 PM, with last tickets sold for 12:00 PM. The garden will re-open to the public at 2:00 PM as the venue for the Autumn Moon Festival. Festival tickets will be required for entry.


Buy tickets to the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden here!

Admission is by online reservation, timed by the hour. Capacity is limited. While limited walk-up tickets will be available, purchasing tickets at the door is discouraged, and you may have to wait to enter until there is capacity in the garden. Guarantee your spot by purchasing online in advance!

Special bonus: Staten Island residents admitted FREE on the first Friday of each month with proof of residency!

  • $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.

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.