There’s Now a Free Map of the Lower East Side’s Community Gardens

les community garden map

Not long ago we heard from local resident Helen Avery, who has created a free guide to the amazing community gardens of the Lower East Side. Allow her to explain:

I’ve been a member of La Plaza Cultural Community Garden for several years and was surprised that there had been very little, if any, data collected on the value of the gardens – what they offer in terms of composting, community events, and supporting native wildlife like bats, frogs, birds etc.

There are 48 gardens on the Lower East Side, but no one document that shows what they each have. It is my hope that it will serve to show how diverse and rich the Lower East Side garden district is to visitors and to residents – perhaps even help establish them as permanent – but also that it will provide a network for the gardens – gardeners wishing to set up composting, for example, can see easily which of their peers have already gone through the process.

Partnership for Parks funded the grant to help create the map. Hopefully it will complement the work of Gardens Rising, which is looking at the importance of the gardens for water capture in the event of flooding. What I loved about the project was that I had to visit every garden. It’s easy to never venture beyond a two-block radius in the East Village and yet there are so many hidden treasures with each of these gardens. It was wonderful seeing how hyper-local communities are coming together and doing great things for our neighborhood, city and planet.

The maps are available at the Sixth Street Community Center, the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, the Loisaida Center and the Clemente. Helen says each of the gardens listed will also have the maps to distribute. You’re also welcome to contact her directly at:

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The Destruction of Adam Purple’s Garden of Eden – 25 Years Later

Adam Purple's Garden of Eden - Photo by Carl Hultburg

Photographer Harvey Wang is raising funds to (hopefully) put on a show in honor of Adam Purple and his unrivaled “green” project, “The Garden of Eden.” Purple created a huge garden on some abandoned lots on Eldridge Street in the ’70’s and ’80’s. This gorgeous video for the kickstarter project says it all.  But the project info reads:

January 8, 2011 marks the 25th anniversary of the destruction of The Garden of Eden, an earthwork created by Adam Purple that once spanned five city lots on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. This selection of Harvey Wang’s photographs, for the most part unpublished and on display for the first time, documents the expansion of the Garden from 1978 to 1985. Rare prints of a few of Adam’s 1975-76 negatives will also be shown.

Silver Releases Statement on Community Garden Rules

This afternoon, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is out with a statement on the final rules submitted by the NYC Parks Department on community gardens:

“The new rules put forward by the Parks Department provide important protections for the community gardens that mean so much to our neighborhoods. Those who dedicate their time and enormous effort to creating and maintaining these gardens deserve to know that as long as they adhere to certain standards, the fruits of their labor will be protected. The residents of my Lower Manhattan community deserve the vital green space that these gardens provide. We must remain vigilant in making sure that these protections are maintained so that future generations can continue to enjoy these urban oases.”

City Strenthens Protections for Community Gardens

9th Street & Avenue C - Community Garden. Photo by Matthew McDermott.

A short time ago, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, with elected officials and neighborhood activists at his side, announced the city is making some concessions to more fully protect the city’s community gardens.  Protesters had strongly opposed the city’s proposed new rules, which they argued would have made the gardens more susceptible to development.

Silver’s Statement on Community Gardens

As the debate over the fate of New York’s community gardens rages on, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is out with a statement on the topic:

“On the Lower East Side, dedicated urban gardeners turned vacant lots from dangerous eyesores into jewels of the neighborhood.  These community gardens give our neighborhoods vital green space and allow our residents a hands-on connection to nature within a dense urban landscape. We must honor the work of our urban pioneers and the wonderful spaces that they’ve created by doing whatever we can to give these gardens the strongest possible protections.”

Community Gardens Book Signing & Party Tomorrow

We received an email from Grace Tankersley this week, telling us about her book signing coming up tomorrow at the Creative Little Garden, 530 East 6th Street (Between Avenues A and B). Grace has written, “Community Gardens of the East Village.” The signing and party takes place from 2-430pm, and will be followed by an organic wine tasting at Umbrella Arts (on East 9th Street). The book tells the story of the community garden movement in the East Village, that rescued many public spaces in the neighborhood from the urban decay and blight of the 70’s and 80’s. The book also includes a guide to 39 gardens in Lower Manhattan. For more information go to Grace’s web site.