Garden Preservation Update!

January 12, 1998

BULLDOZED: December 31, 1997: Mendez Mural Garden (11th Street Bet. Aves A & B) Angels Garden(11th Street Bet. Aves. B & C) Marias Garden (11th Street Bet. Aves. B & C) 10th BC (Little Puerto Rico Garden) 10th Street Bet. Aves. B & C

SAVED: Two gardens in the Lower East Side, the 6th and B Garden (the one with the famous sculpture) and the 6BC Botanical Garden (next door to Earth Celebrations), have been given "permanent site status" by the Parks Department.

LIKELY TO BE SAVED: Green Oasis Garden (with Gilbert's Sculpture Garden) and the 9th and C Garden will be given "permanent site status" by Parks if Community Board 3 (the community board of the Lower East Side) approves. Green Oasis goes before the CB3 Housing Committee next week and the full Community Board at its February 24th meeting.

IN LIMBO: These are gardens that the Parks Department have thinks the ability to make certain changes and become eligible for "permanent site status." The Parks Department does not appear to be lobbying particularly hard on their behalf. HPD has jurisdiction over many of these sites, which means that they must pass before CB3 in order to gain protected status.

  • Lower East Side People Care Garden, 25 Rutgers Street
  • Firemen's Memorial Garden Garden, 358-64 East 8th Street (HPD)
  • Serendipity Garden, 626 East 11th Street
  • Campos Garden, 640-44 East 12th Street (HPD)
  • Hope Garden, 193 East 2nd Street (HPD)
  • 13th Street Community Garden, 520-22 East 13th Street (HPD)
  • 11th Street Block Association Garden, 422 East 11th Street
  • Albert's Garden,16-18 East 2nd Street

THREATENED BY NYC PARTNERSHIP: Rodriguez Community Garden, Suffolk between Rivington and Stanton

THREATENED BY DONALD CAPOCCIA'S LUXURY HOUSING PLAN: Bello Amanecer Borincano (117-121 Avenue C) and Jardin de la Esperanza (223-225 East 7th Street)


  • 9th Street Casita Garden (between Avenues C & D)
  • Holy Mary Mother of God Garden (9th Street between Aves C & D)
  • Urban Botanical Society Garden (7th Street between Aves B & C)
  • 6th/7th Street Garden (6th Street between Aves B & C).


  • Community Residents Association Garden (3rd Street between Aves C & D)
  • Earth People Garden (8th Street between Aves B & C)
  • Orchard Alley Garden (4th Street betw Aves C & D)
  • The Garden Group (6th Street betw Aves C & D)
  • East Side Story (276 East 3rd Street)
  • All the Way East 4th Street B.A. Garden (350-354 E. 4th)
  • Allied Productions/Le Petit Versailles (247 E. 2nd)
  • Kenkeleba House (212 E. 3rd)
  • East 2nd Street B.A. Garden (236-238 E. 2nd)
  • Brisas del Caribe (237 E. 3rd Street
  • The Earth School (600 E. 6th Street)
  • 55 Ave C - HDFC (293-297 E. 4th)
  • "Fifth Street Slope" Garden Club (626-27 E. 5th)
  • Lower East Side Ecology Center (215 E. 7th St.)
  • Coradan Evaeden (603 E. 11th St)
  • Avenue B B.A. Garden (209 Ave. B)
  • Hope Garden (193 E. 2nd)
  • East 3rd A/B Block Assn. Garden (194-196 E. 3rd)
  • 13th St Community Garden (520-522 E. 13th st.)


On January 15, the Housing Committee voted 5 to 4 to give away two more community gardens, this time for the construction of market-rate luxury housing on the corner of 8th Street and Avenue C. The two gardens now under threat -- La Esperanza and El Bello Amanecer Borinqueno -- are each nearly 20 years old and heavily used by community residents. They host numerous programs for senior citizens, children, the homeless and the hungry, as well as the community at large.

The same developer who bulldozed four Lower East Side community gardens on December 30 -- Donald Capoccia -- is behind the new luxury housing scheme. The building Capoccia wants to construct would contain 76 apartments, 80% of which would be rented at exorbitant market rates. Despite the urgent need for low-income housing in the Lower East Side, the project would only provide 15 low-income apartments. It would also contain approximately 7000 square feet of retail space, and a large (5000 square feet) facility space for the Gethsemane Garden Baptist Church.

We need housing, we need stores, we need churches. But is THIS development a wise use of City-owned land in an area where there is a scarcity both of green space and of truly affordable housing? Why should we give up our community gardens for a project that offers only scraps for the community -- and huge profits for the developer?

The Community Board's Housing Committee approved the luxury housing despite the UNANIMOUS opposition of the more than 75 community residents at the meeting.

Fortunately, thanks to the recent election of Margarita Lopez, the composition of the Community Board will soon change. There are a number of openings on Community Board 3; interviews will be conducted in February for seats on the board. Interested persons should send a letter of introduction to the office of Margarita Lopez and obtain an application from the Office of the Borough President (212-669-8300; speak to Luther Smith in community affairs).

[If you don't know how the community board system works, go to for the City's official description. Note that community boards are NOT elected or representative bodies; members are appointed.]

LAWSUIT: A state appellate judge ruled against the New York City Coalition for the Preservation of Gardens last week. The Coalition, however, has not yet exhausted all appeals on its case, which charges that the City disposed of the gardens without following legally mandated environmental review procedures. Sorry I don't have much detail; you could call the Coalition at (212) 777-7969 for more information.