4th Annual LUNGS Harvest Arts Festival in the Gardens Happens Next Weekend

LUNGS Harvest Arts Fest

The 4th Annual LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens) Harvest Arts Festival in the Gardens will take place in 38 community gardens across the Lower East Side on Saturday, September 26 and Sunday, September 27, 2015. It’s a rare occasion when all the gardens have their gates open and welcome mats out at the same time.

The free event promises fabulous performances in music, dance, theater, spoken word, on site visual artists, food workshops, and more.  Each garden programs their own activities so plan to tour a few different locations to get the full flavor of each unique oasis.

You can find more info on their website here or on their Facebook page here.

Standoff at the Children’s Magical Garden; Resolution Elusive So Far


Here’s the latest in the battle for the Children’s Magical Garden, where real estate developer Serge Hoyda has caused quite a stir this week by putting up a fence to divide a popular neighborhood oasis.  Yesterday afternoon, City Council member Margaret Chin showed up at the garden, located at Norfolk and Stanton streets, to talk with garden leaders and check in on a banner-making party meant to turn up the pressure of Hoyda, who’s been the subject of unflattering news coverage the last couple of days.

Chin repeated a plea she first made Wednesday, urging Hoyda’s S&H Equities to remove the fence, which marks off about a third of the lot that he owns.  The remainder of the parcel is controlled by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development and has served as a community garden for three decades. “This (garden) is a treasure and we’ve got to keep it in the community,” Chin said, adding, “By putting up a fence he (Hoyda) is not being a good neighbor and is not helping his case.” 

Good Morning: Aces and Eights Shuttered, Grand Street Construction, Garden Activists Meet

Photo by Jennifer Strom

If you’ve walked past the bar Aces and Eights, 34 Avenue A, in the last couple of days, you might have noticed those tell-tale yellow signs indicating the business has been closed by “order of the Health Department.” Lo-Down contributing writer Jennifer Strom has been looking into what led to the closure. The chain of events she’ll detail later this morning makes for quite an illuminating story.

Good Morning: Primary Day, Loew’s Canal Landmarking, “The Local” Debuts

Carolyn Maloney, Reshma Saujani

It’s primary day in New York.  One of the highest profile races in the state is centered in the 14th Congressional District, which includes sections of the Lower East Side.  Political observers are looking closely at Reshma Saujani’s run against Rep. Carolyn Maloney, as a barometer of the potency of the anti-incumbent backlash this year.

Guest Post: Finding Inspiration in LES Gardens

9th Street & Avenue C Community Garden & Park. All photos by Matthew McDermott

As we reported a few minutes ago, the NYC Parks Department has agreed today to strengthen protections for the city’s community gardens.  An earlier version of proposed rule changes did not sit well with many neighborhood activists, who feared the city might be tempted to sell the garden sites to developers.

Coincidentally, we recently discovered a beautiful (and as it turns out, a very timely) collection of photographs documenting some of the community gardens in and around the Lower East Side.  The photos were taken by East Village resident Matthew McDermott, senior writer for treehugger.com and planetgreen.com. We asked Mat to send us some of his favorite photographs from his series and to tell us a little about what inspired him to document the gardens. His story and the photos are featured after the jump:

William Parker Kicks Off “Art in Gardens” This Sunday

6BC Botanical Garden

6BC Botanical Garden courtesy of Matthew McDermott via flickr

Our friends at Arts for Art (a.k.a. VisionFestival) have sent word of a new work being presented by jazz musician and composer William Parker to open their series of art and performances, “Art In Gardens,” devoted to protecting our community gardens.