Liberty Community Gardens Wait Listers Will Finally Get Their Hands Dirty
Above: As seen in a photo taken last, week, 26 new garden plots await new gardeners. Most garden beds are divided in half. Below: In a shot from last summer at Liberty Community Gardens, a bee investigates a sunflower, and green beans reach toward One World Trade Center.
Mounded with dark soil, teeming with earthworms, 26 new community garden plots are ready for action at the corner of Albany and West Streets. Thanks to the deconstruction of the Rector Street Bridge and ramp in 2019, and the support of the Battery Park City Authority, the New York State Department of the Transportation and the New York City Department of Transportation, Liberty Community Gardens (LCG), a cherished part of the neighborhood, has expanded by about a third.
Liberty Community Gardens were founded in 1987 by local residents with the guidance of Battery Park City Parks. Initially, there were 24 plots on the north and south sides of Rector lawn. Twelve more were added the following year, and eventually, to meet popular demand, 20 additional plots were created along West Street.
Liberty Community Gardens is in the shadow of the World Trade Center, and as the world cannot forget, Lower Manhattan was devastated on September 11, 2001. Gardeners fled and were displaced for months, and the gardens were thickly covered with ash and debris. Within days, the north section of the gardens was appropriated for the base of the Rector Street Bridge.
Gardeners persevered, relying again on Battery Park City Parks and other members of the community. Liberty Court condominium offered temporary use of its lawn space for garden plots. Tully Construction donated thousands of dollars to replace destroyed plants and tools. Community gardeners in Seattle even donated 1,000 pounds of compost to the effort, shipping it to New York City in time for the rededication of Liberty Community Gardens in the fall of 2002.
Over the years, the land between West Street and Battery Park City was redesigned and rebuilt as a permanent park, and Liberty Community Gardens received the space at Albany Street, formerly a parking lot, as a new permanent home.
The 2021 expansion of the gardens brings the total number of plots to 87, including two raised beds for those with mobility issues and two group plots, for the PS/IS 276 community and the families of the Battery Park City Day Nursery.
Downtowners are thrilled—especially the first 26 people on the community garden waiting list. Over the last couple months, the list has swelled to nearly 70 prospective gardeners, as the neighborhood has taken notice of new garden real estate.
Vlad Lascar is fifth in line. When he sent in $5 to hold his spot on the LCG waiting list, Barack Obama was president of the United States. “As a pre-pandemic volunteer with the horticulturalists of the BPCA (the good people who maintain the vegetation in our area), I have been waiting with ardor for my own piece of green,” he told the Broadsheet. “I always thought of the $5 deposit as a good investment. I am now lucky that the LCG area has expanded, and I’ll soon become an urban farmer, and meet other similarly minded neighbors.”
“LCG is a treasured community amenity,” said Mike McCormack, president of the not-for-profit organization. “It allows residents living in green residences, in our green neighborhood, to get their hands dirty and connect with nature.”
The New York City Economic Development Corporation was the project manager for the expansion, with Skanska as construction manager. Adjacent to the gardens, the basketball court also increased in size. The site is still fenced off to the general public, however, and will remain closed until Hudson View East finishes work on its building façade. A temporary gate allows public access to the gardens.
“Often I’m stopped by tourists asking what a community garden is,” Mr. McCormack said. “Many conclude it is something they want to try and do in their hometown. Our gardens are an inspiration to others.”
The Fate of a Neighborhood
State’s Highest Court Blocks Suit by Brewer, Chin Opposing Two Bridges Plan
On Tuesday, the New York State Court of Appeals effectively ended a lawsuit begun in 2018, in which Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Margaret Chin sought to compel the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to subject several massive residential developments planned for the Lower East Side to the highest-possible degree of legal scrutiny. New York’s highest judicial review panel upheld an August ruling by the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, which itself had overturned a 2019 lower-court decision favoring Ms. Brewer and Ms. Chin. To read more…
Getting Squeezed Coming and Going
Washington Okays Congestion Pricing Program that Local Leaders Fear will Penalize Lower Manhattan Residents
The prospect of Lower Manhattan residents being penalized for the privilege of driving to or from their homes moved a step closer to reality on Tuesday, when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sent word to City and State officials that they would allow the congestion pricing plan, devised by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, to move forward under the less rigorous of two possible environmental oversight standards.
The FHWA, an arm of the federal Department of Transportation, decided to allow New York to move ahead under the looser benchmark of an environmental assessment, rather than a full environmental impact statement. “An Environmental Assessment generally requires less time to complete than an Environmental Impact Statement, should no significant impacts be identified,” the agency said in a statement. To read more…
To the editor:
In support of DOT returning the space under the Brooklyn Bridge for the skateboarders to use, the newly opened Peck Slip Park has now turned into a skateboard park.
The design of the new park is a skateboarders dream with sleek pavers. The children in the area, especially the school children, are now in danger of being hurt. Unfortunately the new park was poorly designed.
Governor Opens Hurricane Maria Memorial
On Friday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the opening of the Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City, located at the corner of Chambers Street and River Terrace. Mr. Cuomo made this announcement at an unrelated event in the Bronx, which was closed to the press, as has become the embattled Governor’s custom in recent weeks, while he faces multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, along with allegations that his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic led to thousands of deaths in New York that might otherwise have been prevented. To read more…
Pearl of Wisdom
Brewer Pushes for FiDi Thoroughfare to Be Made Pedestrian-Friendly in Perpetuity
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is pushing the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to expand and make permanent a trial implementation of the Open Street program in Lower Manhattan. Since last summer, the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has each day restricted vehicular access to Pearl Street, between Broad Street and Hanover Square, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and again from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm To read more…
Alliance For Downtown New York Hosts 2021 Shred-A-Thon
And Clothing Drop-Off
After a year like the one we all just endured and the promise of a brighter day emerging, the idea of “spring cleaning” takes on new energy and meaning.
Now is the time to round up all the old clothes and unwanted documents that have been piling up and bring them over to Fulton Street (between Cliff and Gold Streets) for the Downtown Alliance’s annual dual shred-a-thon and clothing drop-off Saturday, April 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A shredding truck parked on Fulton Street will securely dispose of and recycle all your sensitive documents, tax receipts, junk mail and old bills.
The Alliance is also partnering with NYC clothing recycler Wearable Collections, which is providing a bin to collect all dry, used clean clothing including shoes, sneakers, belts and hats, as well as household items such as linens, towels and handbags.
Rain or shine, the Alliance will be there to dispose of your much-loved old outfits and no-longer-needed memories, minus a few items (e.g., carpeting, rugs, bath mats, comforters, pillows, large luggage). This spring will be even sweeter when you’ve got some extra space.
Learn and practice Mandarin, while engaging with Chinese literature, poetry, history and more with fellow enthusiasts. Participants will enjoy live, interactive learning sessions with our language and cultural experts from home. Each session will start with a read-aloud in Mandarin of a carefully selected poem which represents both a touchstone to Chinese culture as well as text for practicing Mandarin language and pronunciation. Free
Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
Language reclamation, pressures on language from current and historical dislocation and forced relocations, and filmmaking for educational purposes are some of the through lines that will be explored in our education roundtable, April 2. Smithsonian curator Mary Linn will moderate the live discussion with Ruben Reyes, director of “Garifuna in Peril,” Ni Nyoman Clara Listya Dewi director of “Luh Ayu Manik Mas,” and Kari Chew (Chickasaw), the project lead for “Growing the Fire Within.” This event is copresented with the Endangered Language Project. Free
Local Leaders Get Irredentist to Reclaim Park Space Dispossessed for a Decade
Community Board 1 (CB1) wants the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to give back park space beneath the Brooklyn Bridge that was “temporarily” closed more than a decade ago. The area, informally known as “Brooklyn Banks,” is an iconic destination for skateboarders, because the streetscape provides an undulating terrain of ramps, rails, ledges, and jumps. Long before any of these stunts were legal in New York, boarders from around the United States would come to the City to compete there, and connect with one another. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Matt Keating is a singer/songwriter who lives in Lower Manhattan with his wife Emily. In a recent post on Facebook, he described his friendship with a man who took shelter outside his building, and how he helped this man receive his federal stimulus check.
This is my neighbor Jamal. We became friends about a month ago when I met him taking shelter outside of my building under the construction scaffolding that’s been put up for a while now. He is currently without a home and asks politely for any help from me whenever I walk by so I started giving him something every once in a while whenever I had it. He was very grateful and we struck up a conversation about politics and the current situation of inequality in this country.
About two weeks ago, as Emily and I were leaving to do our weekly visit to the Union Square Farmers Market, he came up to us and showed us that his shoes were falling apart. His soles were flapping and it was wet out. To read more…
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Report
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
999 – Gerbert of Aurillac elected as first French Pope
1513 – Florida discovered, claimed for Spain by Ponce de Leon
1800 – First performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 1st Symphony in C
1870 – Victoria Woodhull is first woman to be nominated for US president
1884 – London prison for debtors closed
1912 – Titanic undergoes sea trials
1921 – Professor Albert Einstein lectures in New York City on his new Theory of Relativity
1932 – Charles Lindbergh turns over $50,000 as ransom for kidnapped son
1935 – Sir Robert Watson-Watt patents RADAR
1956 – Soap operas “As the World Turns” and “Edge of Night” premiere on TV
1966 – Soviet Union’s Luna 10 becomes first spacecraft to orbit Moon
1973 – ITT admits to asking CIA to influence Chilean presidential election
1982 – Several thousand Argentine troops seize the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands from Great Britain
1987 – IBM introduces PS/2 & OS/2
1992 – John Gotti found guilty of five murders (Paul Castellano, Thomas Bilotti, Robert DiBernardo, Liborio Milito and Louis Dibono), conspiracy to murder Gaetano “Corky” Vastola, loansharking, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, bribery and tax evasion.
1995 – NY Police Dept and NY Transit Police merge into one organization
2006 – Over 60 tornadoes break out, hardest hit is Tennessee with 29 people killed.
2013 – Uruguay passes legislation to legalize same-sex marriage
742 – Charlemagne, First Holy Roman emperor (800-14)
1805 – Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, author of 150 fairy tales
1891 – Max Ernst, Germany, painter/sculptor (founded surrealism)
1908 – Buddy Ebsen, Belleville Il, actor (Beverly Hillbillies, Barnaby Jones)
1914 – Alec Guinness, London England, British actor (Bridge on River Kwai)
1936 – Jack Brabham, Australian race car driver (world champ 1966)
1836 – Charles Dickens marries Catherine Thomson Hogarth
1872 – Samuel Morse developer of electric telegraph, dies at 80
1922 – Hermann Rorschach, Swiss psychologist (b. 1884)
2005 – Pope John Paul II, Polish Roman Catholic Pope (b. 1920)