Last week, 596 Acres’s Paula Z. Segal and Maple Street Community Gardener Tom LaFarge connected the dots between community land, the tax lien sale and deed fraud at a New York City Council hearing about what the City is doing to protect vulnerable communities from property theft. You can watch the video of the whole hearing by clicking here. CUNY School of Law’s magazine also published a nice story on 596 Acres and the Maple Street struggle. Read it here. La lucha continua!
596 Acres is a member of the New York City Community Land Initiative, making community land trusts possible for New York City. What is that, you ask? Here is a fantastic new comic to tell you how we can work together to stabilize our neighborhoods.
COLLABORATORS WANTED: NYCOMMONS
596 Acres, Common Cause/NY, and the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center invite neighborhood groups to collaborate with us this spring on workshops about power over public real estate assets. We will help your members and neighbors learn to protect and expand publicly owned and controlled land and buildings in our neighborhoods. And we will pay you a little bit of money. All groups encouraged to apply and to form coalitions to invite NYCommons to your ‘hoods. No need to be formal or incorporated. Details here. Deadline extended to February 19, 2016.
NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Jamaica, Queens – Recall that city-owned Department of Health building in Jamaica we kept out of the surplus real estate auction in October? After that intervention, neighbors started to organize for community control of land assets in Jamaica. Join them on Wednesday, February 17 at 7pm for a community conversation: GENTRIFICATION, DISPLACEMENT & LAND, a roundtable discussion hosted by Pastor Doris Johnson at Holy Ghost Upper Room, 14559 105th Ave, Jamaica NY 11435. Contact Pastor Doris Johnson at email@example.com or (718) 791-1183.
Rockaway, Queens – Queens Community Board 14 used the process for issuing a letter of support for a new garden on Beach 84th Street, that they designed as a result of our presentation to them last summer. Live near Beach 84th and want to help make this garden dream real? Get in touch through the lot’s page to continue the momentum!
Harlem, Manhattan – The NYC Parks Department GreenThumb program is looking for stewards for this vacant lot at 128 West 127th St. who want to help get it transferred to the NYC Parks Department for permanent preservation as a community garden. Several neighbors have been in touch and have started organizing. Contact them by leaving a note here.
Concord, Staten Island – We have been working with local gardener Harry since May 2014 to transform this stretch of City-owned lots on Sands Street into a productive landscape. Here is the plan for the future garden here. This week, Harry got a letter of support from SI Community Board 2 and is now waiting for the City to release the land to Parks. GreenThumb is standing by to facilitate the transfer. It’s a big lot and going to need a lot of hands. Get involved here.
East New York, Brooklyn – We’re so thrilled to be facilitating the re-opening of the Warwick Street Greenery Glow Garden for residents new and old with the help of GrowNYC, East New York Farms!, the Nature Conservancy and NYC Parks GreenThumb. When resident-organizer Taylor reached out to us last spring to ask about the vacant lot on his block, we were able to tell him that the lot was actually a former garden and the land is the jurisdiction of NYC Parks. We are making sure that the necessary repairs are done and resources directed to re-open the space! What a great discovery! Jump into the fun here!
Brownsville, Brooklyn – At our urging Council Member Espinal is exploring the potential of havingthis vacant NYCHA-owned lot on Glenmore and Powell activated as a community space instead of being a repository for trash behind a fence. He wrote a letter to the NYCHA CEO about our collaboration with Guns Down, Life Up. Follow the progress and help galvanize support here.
COMMUNITY LAND AT RISK
Harlem, Manhattan – Come to a a Winter Vigil at the Mandela Garden on Sunday, February 21 at sundown. There will be a bonfire, treats, marshmallows. hot chocolate and maybe live music. North side of West 126th behind the Apollo Theater. This community space – the site of heroic de-paving efforts last year – is slated to be replaced with a huge apartment building as the administration’s plans to rezone the area for taller buildings move forward.
Crown Heights, Brooklyn -The next appearance at Landlord Tenant court in Brooklyn in the eviction case that may displace the Roger That! garden is on March 11 at 10am at 141 Livingston Street, Brooklyn. Plan to be there! And in the meantime, drop a note to Brooklyn Borough Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey (Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org) to let him know that you support the garden becoming permanent vie eminent domain. Read more in DNAinfo orCurbed.
On Tuesday, February 23 at 6pm New Yorkers for Parks is offering a free webinar, Using Data to Advocate for Your Park, to teach you how to use their City Council District Profiles to make the case for better parks and open space funding. RSVP here by February 18.
Join the Newtown Creek Alliance for a public discussion and presentation of a study of a city-owned property running alongside the Creek at North Henry Street. There will be snacks and scheming for the future: Wednesday, February 24, 7:00-8:30pm at Sunview Luncheonette, 221 Nassau Avenue (at North Henry Street), Greenpoint, NY 11222. RSVP on facebook here.
ON THE ROAD: SAO PAOLO
Sao Paulo: Promoting Non-Speculative Property, a talk with Paula Z. Segal at the Centro Cultural da Ocupação São João (an autonomous social center in an occupied and formerly abandoned hotel. Co-sponsored by Lanchonete.org. Saturday, February 13, 4pm, Av São João 588, São Paulo, Brazil. Event details are here.
SAVE THE DATES
Brooklyn, NYC: 596 Acres, the New York City Community Garden Coalition and Farming Concrete are leading the “What’s So Great About Your Garden?” workshop at Making Brooklyn Bloom on March 12, 2016, 10-11am. Event details are here.
Manhattan. NYC: 596 Acres is facilitating a Campaign Action Session at the Just Food Conference on March 13, 2016 at Teacher’s College at Columbia University in Manhattan: “Communities Protecting Growing Spaces in NYC.” Event details are here.
Manhattan, NYC: A Talk through NYC’s Commons at Fordham Law School, hosted by the Community Economic Development Clinic & the Fordham Urban Law Center. Tuesday, March 15, 4-6pm, 150 West 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023. Everyone is welcome; let Paula know if you want to join the presentation to talk about your community space and the process of commonification you have been through: email@example.com.
Bronx, NYC: 596 Acres will lead workshops on “Organizing ourselves: the basics of working in groups” at this year’s GreenThumb’s GrowTogether gathering, 11:30 am to 12:45 pm and 2:15 pm to 3:30 pm on March 19, 2016, at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York 10451.
GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Check out our list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot.
Doing our best,
Paula, for 596 Acres