The battle for the Children’s Magical Garden on Stanton Street remains at a standstill after developer Serge Hoyda put up a fence earlier this month dividing a parcel he owns from two city-controlled lots. Garden activists are gearing up for a Community Board 3 hearing next month in which they’ll seek support for making the garden permanent and/or arranging a “swap” with Hoyda in which he’d potentially take another development site. That meeting takes place Thursday, June 13, 6:30 p.m. at the BRC Senior Center, 30 Delancey St. Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Council member Margaret Chin are out with a letter to Hoyda urging him to remove the fence.
Here’s the text of that letter:
Over its 30 year history, the Children’s Magical Garden has played a vital role in transforming the Lower East Side environment. What was once a haven for drugs and crime is now a vibrant, beautiful community space that serves residents and schools, providing local families and children with the opportunity to access open green space and give back to their community. We were very disappointed to learn that Norfolk Development Corporation LLC (NDC) erected a chain-link fence along your property at Stanton Street and Norfolk Street, through the middle of the Children’s Magical Garden. We request that NDC remove the fence, for you are not currently acting in the best interests of your local community. We understand there is concern about liability and protecting NDC against claims of injury or damage. However, since NDC had the fence put up on your third of the garden, the gardeners have worked to obtain insurance that would protect the company from any liability of injury on your property. This should allow you to continue sharing your unused property, as you have done for the past 10 years. By suddenly and forcefully putting up the fence, NDC has threatened this local neighborhood treasure, damaging the garden and its plantings in the process. Given that there are no immediate plans to develop the plot, we believe that NDC should remove the fence and continue to allow the Children’s Magical Garden to flourish on the corner of Stanton and Norfolk Streets. Thank you for your consideration.
This week, garden activists rallied at Community Board 3’s monthly meeting, advocating for a permanent solution that would protect the garden as neighborhood resource. Several hundred people have signed an online petition to save the garden.