PLANT POWER: Lashawn “Suga Ray” Marston, his mother, Kim, and daughter Usha water flowers in a new Queensbridge Houses garden. (Olivia Bensimon)

QUEENS—With New Yorkers largely stuck inside, safe, public outdoor spaces have never been more necessary, especially in a place like the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the country.

Now, as worries rise about a second wave of the pandemic, the nearly 7,000 residents of its 26 buildings and 3,142 units continue turning to green spaces to escape their apartments.

Some, like Lashawn “Suga Ray” Martson, are working on ways to create more gardens on the grounds, even as officials dither over uncultivated land.