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The park’s Katharine Hepburn Garden is the largest public garden on the east side of midtown Manhattan. The planted area consists of a front border bounded by a seating wall and low fence behind which lies a naturalistic garden. From the entrance gate near the park cafe, a winding pathway offers a serene walk in the woods amid the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan.


  • Nature trail
  • Engraved stepping stones with quotes of Katharine Hepburn
  • Engraved wall plaques dedicated to the films of Katharine Hepburn
  • Kate’s Bench—the actual bench from Katharine Hepburn’s Fenwick estate in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, with a stone marker.

Named After Katharine Hepburn, Turtle Bay Resident

In 1997, before the park’s reconstruction was complete, the community dedicated the newly created garden to actress Katharine Hepburn in recognition of her neighborly efforts to preserve the trees and charming character of Turtle Bay. A bench from Ms. Hepburn’s estate and stepping stones bearing “Hepburnisms” (quotations) and tributes to her Oscar-winning films were later additions inspired by Millie Margiotta of our Garden Committee.

Garden Design

Park architect George Vellonakis designed the naturalistic garden, preserving the park’s original sycamore trees and creating a lower canopy of birch trees, dogwoods and viburnums. Friends of DHP have since added a wide diversity of shrubs and underplantings, including native species. Because of the northern exposure and lack of sun, the garden is planted with shade-tolerant perennials. In spring, thousands of bulbs burst into bloom, going dormant as the tree canopy fills over with leaves.

Help us take care of the garden. Join the Garden Volunteers!