Monday, August 9, 2010

Save our community gardens!

One of NYC's most unique and valuable assets is its Community Gardens. There are approximately 35 in the East Village alone, providing open air, greenery, relaxation, beauty and a social network for the neighborhood. The East Village gardens sprung out of a time of poverty and violence, when the area was a dumping ground and haven for drug use and crime. All but abandoned by the city, it was the residents who took action, reclaiming vacant lots and crumbling buildings from junkies and homeless, uniting and working together to create clean, friendly places that were safe for children to play, adults to rest and where anyone and everyone could grow fresh food and flowers.

These community gardens are now in danger of being bulldozed this September when an order of protection expires. Gardens not currently protected by the Parks Department could be auctioned off to developers to build more glass condos.

Hope Garden
Hope Garden
More photos of the Hope Garden.

From an article in the NY Times:
Since 2002, community gardens have been regulated by an agreement that designated about 150 gardens for development but preserved or increased protections for about 500 others. That agreement, which was reached after the state attorney general sued the city to block the sale of gardens to developers, will expire in September. Although city officials have said they have no plans to develop gardens, rules proposed by the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development do not include any guarantees of preservation.
There will be a public hearing tomorrow - Tuesday, August 10, 11am at the Chelsea Recreation Center at 430 W. 25th Street - where you can speak out and show your support. Come join the rally at 10:30am and let your voice be heard.

This is New york - BE LOUD!

Here is another article discussing the proposed rules.

Kenkeleba Garden

Thanks to Jill who turned me on to the book, Community Gardens of the East Village, by Grace Tankersley. A local resident, Tankersley devotes a page to each garden and includes interviews with the gardeners as well as provides the histories of each garden and its relationship to the neighborhood. She does a wonderful job documenting the East Village's transformation from burned-out hell hole to serene and community-driven neighborhood.

With her book in hand as a guide, I ventured out recently to visit each garden and take some photographs. Each has it's own distinct personality and story. I greatly encourage everyone to stop in at any garden as they are open to the public and meant to be enjoyed by all.

The one that started them all, the Liz Christy Garden
Liz Christy Garden

Liz Christy Garden
More photos of the Liz Christy Garden.

Albert's Garden
Albert's Garden
More photos of Albert's Garden.

Kenkeleba Sculpture Garden
3rd St & Ave B
More photos of the Kenkeleba Sculpture Garden.

Peach Tree Garden
Peach Tree Garden
More photos of the Peach Tree Garden.

Jardin Los Amigos
Jardin Los Amigos

Jardin Los Amigos
More photos of Jardin Los Amigos.

Brisas Del Caribe
Brisas Del Caribe
More photos of Brisas Del Caribe.

Miracle Garden
Miracle Garden
More photos of the Miracle Garden.

Generation X Garden
Generation X Garden
More photos of the Generation X Garden.

Orchard Alley
Orchard Alley
More photos of Orchard Alley.

El Jardin Del Paraiso
El Jardin Del Paraiso

El Jardin Del Paraiso

El Jardin Del Paraiso
More photos of El Jardin Del Paraiso.

Fireman's Memorial Garden
Fireman's Memorial Garden
More photos of the Fireman's Memorial Garden.

Gilbert's Sculpture Garden
Gilbert's Sculpture Garden

Gilbert's Sculpture Garden
More photos of Gilbert's Sculpture Garden.


Many more photos of Urban Greenscapes can be found here.


IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO VOICE YOUR SUPPORT!

Things you can do:

1. Call and write the Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, 311 or 212-639-9675, fax 212-312-0700.

2. Email the Mayor (http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html) and your City Council member and tell him/her to "preserve our community gardens - make them permanent." For complete City Council Member contact information, visit: http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml

3. Attend the Public Hearing of the Department of Parks & Recreation and Department of Housing Preservation and Development's Proposed Rules governing Green Thumb Community Gardens at the Chelsea Recreation Center at 11 a.m. on August 10, 2010 at Chelsea Recreation Center at 430 West 25th Street in Manhattan at 11:00 a.m.

4. Join the pre-hearing rally outside the Rec Center at 10:30 am, organized by Time's Up!.


**This post is dedicated to my mom, an avid gardener and lover of all things green.

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