About NYC East Village-Loisaida Community Gardens


While the gardens are beautiful one by one, their specialness comes from their respective heroic stories. They are vibrant examples of how a neighborhood that was burning down was saved by community gardeners, amongst others, and how the neighborhood saved the gardens when they became threatened by the government. The gardens are treasures of the Lower East Side. They were also one of the main reasons that the Lower East Side revived in the 1970s and 1980s. Due to the practical support of Green Guerillas and other organizations, once dangerous empty lots became the neighborhood’s parkland under the aegis of the city's GreenThumb program. In the 1990s, punishing success, the Guiliani administration refused to renew the GreenThumb leases,and transferred many of the properties to Housing rather than Parks. As a result the gardens began to be auctioned off. These actions were fought by protesters and were accompanied by intense grassroot lobbyists, to convince them that neighborhoods needed both community gardens and affordable housing. Eventually the battles were fought in the courts. Each garden that survived did so because of the intervention of a larger network of individuals who came together to lobby for that particular location, usually as part of what became the Garden Preservation Coalition. This helped further spur the unique identification of certain gardens with cultural programs such as music or theater, with certain types of gardening, or with interethnic community building. The gardens were particularly important to the Lower East Side not only because of how they had turned the neighborhood around, but because in doing so, they reinforced the importance of creating a model of neighborhood ethnic diversity.

Number of sites: 56

Comments: 0

Team members: 2
NYC Lower East Side East Village Community Gardens
Alex Purdy
Recent Comments

Title Site Added by Comment
Albert’s Garden Anonymous 03/10/2012 - 18:09
Le Petit Versailles Anonymous 03/10/2012 - 18:09
El Jardin del Paraiso Anonymous 03/14/2015 - 15:26
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Casita Garden (a.k.a., Zulma Garden) Duis Neque Anonymous 05/18/2011 - 19:06
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