The Liz Christy Garden

Houston Street
Bowery
NY

The Liz Christy Garden

Jardín ComunitarioBici Senda >Zona Peatonal/SenderoTransporte Público/MasivoSitio Recuperado/ReconstruidoCompostajeBarrio con DiversidadRecurso de Ecoturismo

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With over thirty-five years of gardening embedded in its (horti)culture, its byways are full of surprises big and small with stunning contrasting herbs, flowering plants and trellises, providing shade, as well as a pond and cozy places to hideaway with a book. When founded by neighborhood artist Liz Christy and friends in 1973, the city tried to take back the land that was being cleared of debris and found itself in a full-fledged publicity battle which was won by a Daily News photography spread of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ state of affairs.

A feisty soul rather than a diplomat, Liz Christy went on to work for the Council on the Environment (Open Space Greening program) and for Green Guerillas, in effect founding the gardening movement in New York. The city owned over 15,000 empty lots by the 1970s; over 800 of these became community gardens. She was adept at convincing funders of the benefits the gardens brought to neighborhood residents and the city at large: fewer havens for drug addicts, fresh grown food and herbs, healthy air for children in poor neighborhoods to breathe along with a safe environment to play in. She became a mentor to many other gardens, supplying much needed soil, plants, knowledge and the knack of working around New York’s bureaucracies. The garden she founded was named after her when she died some years later of cancer. A few years ago, the garden had to again fight for its existence when an expensive four building rental development called Avalon was placed around the garden and a number of adjoining buildings were torn down. Due to a vigorous petition campaign, the neighborhood rallied to the gardener’s call to save the Liz Christy Garden and it remains one of the most beautiful sites in Lower Manhattan.

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Liz Christy Garden

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Liz Christy Garden is the "senior" garden of the Lower East Side, the literal progenitor of a number of other gardens. Photo by Elissa Sampson

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