Inside the Secret Garden on the Edge of Manhattan Named for a Cop Who Died in 9/11

Bruce's Garden is not just a a tribute to Officer Bruce Reynolds, but to all those who lost their lives that day.

On the very tip of  northern Manhattan, there's a secret oasis named after Officer Bruce Reynolds, who lost his life on 9/11

Dubbed Bruce's Garden, the space in Inwood is not just a tribute to Reynolds, but to all those who lost their lives that day, said executive director Aaron Scott. 

"It's a place unlike any other spot on the island, quite frankly," Scott told "... It's a very fitting gesture for the kind of person that Bruce was."

When he was young, Reynolds moved to the area with his family from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They were one of the first African American families in the community and they set about to make their new home a better place — starting with a neglected corner of a nearby city park. 

"At that time the park was really not being very well taken care of by the parks department and we did the taking care of it," Jay Reynolds, Bruce's father, told 

"It started out as a dump," added Scott. "This was a dump site, the neighborhood dump site. If you could imagine, worst case scenario, carpet rolls, appliances, car parts, lots and lots of garbage."

But with a little TLC, Jay and his wife and son soon reclaimed the area.

"Bruce was a nature boy," said Jay. "When he was 3 and 4 years old, I was teaching him about growing flowers and planting flowers and all that ... and then from that, Bruce grew into the garden at the park."

Bruce had other passions as well. He'd always wanted to be a cop and he eventually achieved that dream.

"When he did become a policeman with the Port Authority, that was a very important thing in his life," said Jay.

After he died in 9/11, the garden to which his family had given so much of their time was named after Bruce. Now, Bruce's Garden is a thriving space for both nature and community. 

"This garden is a memorial and it's important because his story, and others like his, should be remembered," said Scott. "No question, should be remembered."

He added: "There are many places like this on the planet, but Bruce's Garden is like magic, what can I say?"