A Leafy Backyard Compound in Clinton Hill
New York magazine|June 8-21, 2020
Design Hunting
By Wendy Goodman

YOU’D NEVER KNOW, walking by the 19th century factory building in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill, that there is a lush and shady oasis, alive and secluded, just behind its walls. The leafy compound is planted with dogwood, Japanese maples, azaleas, rhododendrons, and ferns, but it’s the decades-old twisted, climbing, implacable wisteria that defines this communal Eden that Yolande Milan Batteau, an artist and designer, shares with two other families. Batteau first rented a basement space—which she calls her “cave”—on the property as her studio in 2004. That was just the beginning of her real-estate takeover. Over the next several years, she annexed the entire wisteria-covered triplex across the garden. Today, she and her 17-year-old daughter, Leilani, and their two dogs, Kitsune and Misaki, live in a bucolic confluence of studio and residential space.

“We always have at least two bird’s nests going,” says Batteau. “There are some doves with fledglings now.” She worries that the squirrels and the crows might get them. “There is this life cycle that goes on here, where doves will mate, and they’ll build a nest, and then they’ll have fledglings, and sometimes they make it and sometimes they don’t. It’s just this crazy natural thing.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NEW YORK MAGAZINEView All

The Fixer

DJ Khaled is not a rapper. But he does always seem to know a guy.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

Science of Us: Katie Heaney

The Clock-Out Cure For those who can afford it, quitting has become the ultimate form of self-care.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

THE Destroy-It-to-Save-It Plan FOR East River Park

The city’s first real battle over climate adaptation has arrived.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

You'd Be an Iconic Guest

A ruthless Instagram interviewer brings her knowing wink to cable.

5 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

The Great Indoors

A critic reacclimates to the now-unfamiliar terrain of the dining room.

4 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

Political Animals: Olivia Nuzzi

The Crisis Crisis How the White House polices language in Washington—including the president’s.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

What Was the Office?

It Was Stressful, Filthy, High Stakes—and Where the Action Was

10+ mins read
New York magazine
April 26 - May 9, 2021

ANDREW YANG'S INSIDER CAMPAIGN

How did a former CEO of 100 employees become the front-runner to govern a city of 8.5 million? Not simply by being a national celebrity and an excellent campaigner.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

The Group Portrait: Little Pot

The activists and entrepreneurs intent on making New York’s new cannabis industry more equitable, less corporate.

2 mins read
New York magazine
April 26 - May 9, 2021

Tech vs. Journalism

Silicon Valley feels picked on by “woke” journalists “who can't code." Reporters feel picked on by petty zillionaires with anger-management problems. Inside the nasty clout battle for how the world’s most influential industry gets covered.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021
RELATED STORIES

thumbs up! thumbs down!

Best Of Show Or Worse For Wear? Digest Decides.

5 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 24, 2021

More Merchants Are Courting Cash

Surcharges for credit card purchases become common as businesses try to avoid swipe fees

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 10, 2021

The Mother Load

Her GH Alter Is Faking Her Pregnancy, But In Real Life, Amanda Setton Is A Busy Mom Of Three.

4 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
May 10, 2021

Baking in Brooklyn

She comes from Jamaican and southern roots, but now Shanika is transforming classic comfort foods into vegan delicacies with her family in NYC.

3 mins read
Taste of Home
April - May 2021

GH: VALENTIN REACTS TO BROOK LYNN'S PREGNANCY

Valentin is left reeling when he comes face to face with a newly returned Brook Lynn and discovers that their one-night stand had lasting consequences: She’s pregnant!

2 mins read
Soap Opera Digest
March 29, 2021

INDIAN LARRY'S BLOCK PARTY - REVISITED

Born To Ride continues to look back at our relationship with Indian Larry. Here is a reprint of an article BTR published in August 2004

2 mins read
Born To Ride Florida
February 2021

Tony Toscani

What a Day for a Daydream

8 mins read
JUXTAPOZ
Spring 2021

Writers Confront Climate Crisis

Author and activist Toni Cade Bambara has said the role of the artist is “to make revolution irresistible.” So when Jenny Offill, author of the novels Dept. of Speculation (Knopf, 2014) and Weather (Knopf, 2020), heard about the work of Writers Rebel—the writers’ arm of Extinction Rebellion, an international activist group that works against climate change—she felt compelled to get involved.

4 mins read
Poets & Writers Magazine
March - April 2021

A SPECIAL VALENTINES MEAL CAN TAKE MANY FORMS THIS YEAR

As we come to the end of a collective year of pandemic firsts, Valentine’s Day is next up. And showing love and gratitude can feel more important than ever.

4 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #485

KID MAGICIANS CAGED IN CUSTODY BRAWL

THE shocking arrest and lockup of two teen “America’s Got Talent” contestants for refusing to return to their mother amid a bitter custody dispute has sparked outrage from friends, family and legal experts consulted by The National ENQUIRER!

2 mins read
National Enquirer
December 21, 2020