Shadowed by the leaves of a weeping willow is hidden a little oasis in the city. As I entered, I was greeted by the sight of neatly organized rows of boxed-in garden plots, and a path through the middle decorated with cobblestones. There were overhanging vines, and stray cats sunning themselves among the cabbages and the squash. On either side, of the garden were concrete walls. The Rodale Pleasant Community Garden was built from a vacant lot in 1998, so we learned from Sandy, a member at the community garden who proudly showed us her piece of land. It was Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project that is responsible for enabling this piece of land to be turned into the garden. When Ms. Midler learned that vacant lots were going to be sold, she "came in with lots of money, and said that she wanted to save the green, " Sandy recalled. Today, Rodale boasts a membership of close to fifty. They not only come from the neighborhood surrounding the garden, but men and women travel from Lower Manhattan and Midtown to care for their small piece of land. There are eighteen lots where the community is invited to plant vegetables and or flowers while also putting in four hours every month to water the plants and to maintain the garden's appearance. Together they work to cultivate a community of active gardeners in a place where nature is scarce. Sandy told us that everyone begins planting in spring, and within a few weeks, there is an abundance of food for them to eat throughout the season. Looking around, we saw signs of zucchini, tomatoes, lettuces, mint, basil, peppers and okra. Amazed at the variety, and commenting on how my husband and I could never grow anything like this when we lived in Westchester because of the deer and rabbits, Sandy laughed and said, "Here, it is whole foods for the squirrels, deer are the issue in the suburbs. "Some would say the charm of Manhattan is in its people. Some would say it is in its innovative, forever-changing spirit. Some still would disagree and say it is in its constancy. To Sandy, and many of the urban gardeners on 114th Street, the charm of Manhattan is in its gardens and green spaces. "It is a lifeline... a gift, " said Sandy, "to be able to garden, and vegetables are my thing. "