Thousands of community gardeners and residents protest
slated destruction of over 300 community gardens
throughout New York City.
Gardeners expose corruption & lack of proper public review.
City hall hearings reveal the lack of a proper and just public review
process for the disposition of these gardens for sale and development. The
- have not gone through a proper and just public review process.
- many representatives voting were not aware they were voting to release gardens.
- no notification to gardeners by city agencies or developers of their plans.
- no current environmental impact study was done to assess the loss of the
gardens to the community, as well as the viability of low-density
middle/market-rate housing in 1997, on these low-income neighborhoods
throughout the city.
Gardeners passionate testimonies describe the process whereby gardens are
released, with elected officials unaware that they are voting to release
gardens for development. Even elected officials who are garden supporters
have voted to destroy them. The lack of democracy and justice is an
outrage. Elected officials claim there is no means to rescind a vote,
although the presentation of the legislature was a fraud and a blatant act
of deception, or at least gross negligence.
In fact, Sal Albanese, stated "the bill referred to the land in question as
'blighted vacant lots' not the thriving community gardens that they are.
Had the true nature of the legislation been apparant, I would have surely
voted against it." Council member Duane and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., while
supporters of the gardens all voted to demolish them, because of the
misrepresentation of the item. As usual the gardens were only referred to
by block and lots numbers, as well as being combined with numerous other
items on the agenda. It is obvious that first level of the democratic
process does not work and does not represent low-income communities in New
At this point, the gardeners ask for an investigation into this public
review process and an immediate halt on all plans for gardens sites,
because they have not gone through a proper and just public review process,
many representatives voting were not aware they were voting to release
gardens, and no current environmental impact study was done to assess the
loss of the gardens to the community, as well as the viability of
low-density middle/market-rate housing in 1997, on the Lower East Side, and
other low-income neighborhoods throughout the city.
The City has failed to acknowledge that after 20 years, that these gardens
have become more than temporary use of vacant land. These gardens have
totally transformed neighborhoods riddled with abandoned buildings and
neglected rubble-strewn vacant lots that had become dens of crime, drugs,
and toxic waste. People worked together out of their own volunteer
initiative to improve their neighborhood, clearing away the rubble and
planting trees, flowers and vegetable gardens. Over the past quarter of a
century these gardens have also grown into more than needed green open
space, they have become living multi-cultural community centers bringing
people from diverse backgrounds together. As the City slashes the budget
for social services and cultural programs, these gardens are providing
millions of dollars worth of social services free of cost to the city.