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News from the Acres - January 22, 2016

25 January 2016

17 gardens that took the place of vacant lots via 596 Acres' facilitation became permanently protected community gardens this month!

As The New York Times took note last Saturday, “Community gardens are the most vulnerable spaces in the city,” which makes the transfer of seventeen (17!) interim spaces created and supported through 596 Acres' advocacy this winter all the more remarkable. Read more in the Brooklyn Paper.  

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 is February 12, 2016. 

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
South Williamsburg, Brooklyn - Amazing news! Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is finally willing to transfer the lot on the corner of Hooper and South 4th Streets to the NYC Parks Department, 24 years after the community planned it as "Open Space" and City Council adopted the plan. Contact Robert to hold to their promise and get involved in planning this long-awaited community park: hooperstreetpark@gmail.com.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - The Police Commissioner seems to think there are more police cars in the neighborhood than existing NYPD parking lots (click the link to read his letter). We have noticed that not only the lot next door to this City-owned lot that has been vacant for decades, but the nearby NYPD lots on Dekalb Avenue, often have many empty spaces. Time to organize "Police Parking Lot Watch" and document the actual use of the existing spaces. Who's up for setting up a monitoring system?

Ozone Park, Queens - Lianna, a teacher at a school near this handsome City-owned lot on 99th Street, is looking for collaborators to plan a community park with her. Get in touch if this is your neighborhood: lianna.a.brenner@gmail.com.

GARDENS AT RISK
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Letter writing party tomorrow to bring the eminent domain bills recently introduced to preserve the Roger That! garden to the attention of legislators in Albany! Watch a great short film about the garden here then come out: Tuesday, January 26, 7-10pm at Two Saints, 753 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn. Event details here

Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Join gardeners of Imani I in protecting this fantastic willow tree and and over three decades of continuous gardening at this site. Come to Council Member Robert Cornegy's office on Saturday, January 30 at 10 AM at 1360 Fulton Street, Suite 500 between NY Ave and Brooklyn Ave in Restoration Plaza to show him this garden matters and brainstorm next steps to getting it back from the private speculators who just bought it at auction. 

Prospect Lefferts, Brooklyn - On January 6, the Maple Street Community Garden eminent domain bill in the State Senate (introduced by Jesse Hamilton last fall to put the garden on a path to preservation) was referred to the Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee. This means a whole new group of Senators needs to be hearing from the Maple Street Community via this letter campaign. The members are here. A little indoor advocacy goes a long way! 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN: GRANT DEADLINES APPROACHING
Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups are due at midnight tonight January 25, 2016.

Partnerships for Parks' Capacity Fund Grant program grants of up to $5,000 to groups working on NYC Parks Department property are due February 1, 2016.
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.

SAVE THE DATES
Sao Paulo: Promoting Non-Speculative Property, a talk with Paula 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, BrazilEvent details are here.

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, 10-11amEvent 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: paula@596acres.org. 

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.

COLLABORATORS
Join our friends from Picture the Homeless on the steps of City Hall this Wednesday, January 27 at 11am for the roll-out of the Gaining Ground campaign. In their words: "We collaborated with nonprofit housing developers to create the Gaining Ground Pilot Project, which uses the community land trust model to save taxpayers money at the same time as it develops housing, incubates small businesses, creates jobs, and slows down displacement from gentrification."Event details here. 596 Acres is a Gaining Ground co-sponsor. 

The New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative is establishing a Steering Committee and continuing to build a financing cooperative to strike back at the displacement of key cultural, retail, cooperative and manufacturing space in NYC. Read the latest here. The next All Member meeting and opportunity to join is this Thursday, January 28, 2016, at 6pm at New Middle Collegiate Church on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street in ManhattanEvent details here. Already a member and can't make it but want to vote? Download the REIC Steering Committee Proxy and write in your vote then send someone to the meeting with it. 

GREEN WARRIORS AT WORK (THE JOB LISTINGS SECTION)
Randall Island  Park Alliance is looking for a gardener. Paid position, details here.

Big Reuse (formerly Build It Green) has openings in the reuse stores and their compost program. Look here.

Got a story you need to tell? Here is a paid opportunity to write about your local land access campaign of another environmental justice issue in Uneven Earth. 


Did you miss us? 
Paula, for 596 Acres

NYCommons Request for Neighborhood Collaborators

22 January 2016


This is an invitation from NYCommons to collaborate on workshops to help New Yorkers learn to  protect and expand publicly owned and controlled land and buildings in our neighborhoods. NYCommons is a collaboration between Common Cause/NY, the Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center, and 596 Acres, Inc. The next phase of our work includes focusing on 2-3 neighborhoods to pilot workshops where we spotlight means to participate effectively in current land use processes, as well as challenges shared by many community groups working around local land use struggles.


Contact.

Prudence Katze, Common Cause, Inc., pkatze@commoncause.org, (212) 691-6421

Background. We have already spent a year conducting research through meetings with over 100 organizations and community activists across NYC. Through our initial phase of outreach and research, we identified five types of public assets that present important opportunities for public participation and community input in many communities:


  1. Vacant public land and community gardens on land owned by City agencies and State Authorities;

  2. Post offices;

  3. Libraries;

  4. New York City Housing Authority campuses and other property; and

  5. Publicly-owned waterfront property.            

We now invite collaborators from NYC neighborhoods to join us as co-hosts of workshops focused on helping to foster an understanding of what neighbors can do to ensure that public assets continue to be a resource for their communities. If you have some or all of these property types in your community, NYCommons would like to collaborate with you to help local residents learn how decisions about these properties are made and how residents can participate in the process.

Formal organizations and groups of individuals are invited to apply. We encourage you to partner with other organizers in your neighborhood as hosts of these workshops. Through our individual organizations and our collaborative work so far as NYCommons, we have developed a deep network of New Yorkers focusing their advocacy on public real estate assets, land use, housing rights, community participation, and neighborhood-based advocacy. You can see a list of them here; let us know if you would like to be connected to anyone listed as a potential co-collaborator.


LOGISTICS

Compensation. NYCommons will provide food and facilitation for workshops, as well as funding for workshop outreach. In addition, collaborators will receive a minimum unrestricted stipend of $500 (final amount dependent on number of collaborators per neighborhood), which can be used to compensate individual participants or to compensate an organization as a whole.

Timeline. Collaborators must commit to a planning meeting with the NYCommons team, to be held between April 1 and April 15, 2016, and to co-hosting two public workshops in June and July.

Collaborator Applications. We encourage collaborations between groups and individuals who are doing diverse work in the same area. Application questions are listed below, in Appendix A. Collaborator applications are due Friday, February 12, 2016 at 5:59pm. Please email your proposal to Prudence Katze at pkatze@commoncause.org. Selections will be made by March 5, 2016.


APPENDIX A.

APPLICATION QUESTIONS

Main contact.

Name.
Organizational affiliation, if any.
Phone.
Email.
Website, if any.
Twitter, if any.
How did you find out about this collaboration opportunity?

Your team.

List the members of your team. Include organizations and individuals. For each, include:

Name.
Organizational affiliation, if any.
Phone.
Email.
Website, if any.
Twitter, if any.

Through our individual organizations and our collaborative work so far as NYCommons, we have developed a deep network of New Yorkers focusing their advocacy on public real estate assets, land use, housing rights, community participation, and neighborhood-based advocacy. You can see a list of them here; let us know if you would like to be connected to anyone listed as a potential co-collaborator.

Your neighborhood.

  1. Draw or describe the boundaries of the neighborhood you work in. Your neighborhood can be as small as one block or as large as one borough, but keep in mind that we want to make sure that the team we assemble is well-positioned to reach deeply into the area of focus.  

  2. Which of the following does your neighborhood have:

    1. Vacant public land

    2. Community gardens on land owned by City agencies and State Authorities

    3. Post offices that might close

    4. Libraries

    5. New York City Housing Authority campuses and other property

    6. Publicly-owned waterfront property

Your resources.

  1. List spaces in your neighborhood that you can access for hosting a public workshop.

  2. List public officials that your team has a relationship with, including NYC City Council Members and Community Boards. Describe the nature of the relationships and, if applicable, how you have worked on any land use challenges together.

Your reason.
In under 500 words (one page, single spaced), describe why you want to invite the NYCommons team to collaborate with you in a workshop series focused on how the community can impact the outcome and decisions around public assets in their neighborhood, and the development of training modules and materials to build local organizing around public asset disposition. How will this series contribute to your overall goals? What do you hope you and your team will learn? What do you hope you and your team will be able to teach?


APPENDIX B.


A collaboration between 596 Acres,  the Urban Justice Center and Common Cause New York, NYCommons seeks to provide local stakeholders with the tools they need to impact decisions around the future of their parks, libraries, community gardens, and other publicly held spaces. By creating accessible information about who controls these public assets, how decisions about these assets are made, and how members of the public can influence these choices, NYCommons will help communities raise their voices to ensure that local people will continue to enjoy the benefits of shared space for generations to come.


Why This Project?

Vibrant public spaces strengthen communities and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. They provide opportunities for learning, health and recreation, as well as connecting with friends and neighbors.   But all too often, publicly owned spaces are sold or taken out of public control with very little meaningful public input. Publicly owned buildings and parking lots may also have unused air rights that create opportunities for development that people may not realize exist until it’s too late for the community to have a voice in how those development rights are used. Our project seeks to break this pattern and give local people a chance to have a say in the decisions that affect their communities. NYCommons will help reframe the public dialogue so the long term, inherent benefits of public spaces being maintained for the public interest are not overlooked in the decision-making process.


APPENDIX C

NYC groups working on the commons (who might want to collaborate with you)

CITYWIDE


Organization

Website

Alliance for a Greater New York

http://www.alignny.org/

Asian Americans for Equality

http://www.aafe.org/

Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development

http://www.anhd.org/

ATLAS: DIY (Developing Immigrant Youth)

http://www.atlasdiy.org/

Chinese Staff and Worker's Association

http://cswa.org/

Citizen Action of NY

http://citizenactionny.org/

Citizens Committee for NYC

http://www.citizensnyc.org/

Citizens Defending Libraries

http://citizensdefendinglibraries.blogspot.com/

City Club of NY

http://cityclubny.org/

City Parks Foundation

http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/

Coalition of Block & Community Leaders

https://www.facebook.com/BlocksforBlocks

Community Voices Heard

http://www.cvhaction.org/

DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association

http://www.damayanmigrants.org/

DRUM - Desis Rising Up and Moving

http://www.drumnyc.org/

Green City Force

http://www.greencityforce.org/

Green Guerillas

http://www.greenguerillas.org/

GreenThumb

http://www.greenthumbnyc.org/

Grow NYC

http://www.grownyc.org/

Historic Districts Council

http://hdc.org/

Make the Road New York

http://www.maketheroad.org/

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

http://waterfrontalliance.org/

Minkwon Center for Community Action

http://minkwon.org/

Neighborhood Plaza Partnership

http://neighborhoodplazapartnership.org/

New York City Community Garden Coalition

http://nyccgc.org/

New York City Community Land Initiative

http://nyccli.org/

New York City Park Advocates

http://nycparkadvocates.org/

New York Restoration Project

https://www.nyrp.org

New Yorkers for Parks

http://www.ny4p.org/

NYC Environmental Justice Alliance

http://www.nyc-eja.org/

NYC Labor Council for Latin American Advancement

http://www.lclaa.org/new-york

NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative

http://nycreic.com/

Partnerships for Parks

http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/partnerships-for-parks/

Picture the Homeless

http://picturethehomeless.org/

Public Space Party

http://www.publicspaceparty.org/

Right to the City-NYC

http://righttothecity.org/

Sarapis

https://sarapis.org/#

Solidarity NYC

http://solidaritynyc.org/

Streetwise & Safe

http://streetwiseandsafe.org/

Trees New York

http://www.treesny.org/

Urban Homestead Assistance Board (UHAB)

http://www.uhab.org/

VOCAL-NY

http://www.vocal-ny.org/

International Federation of Settlements

http://www.ifsnetwork.org/

Trust for Public Land

https://www.tpl.org/

Ugnayan

http://www.ugnayanyouth.org/about-us/






BRONX


Organization

Neighborhood

Website

African Communities Together


http://www.africans.us/

Banana Kelly

Hunts Point / Longwood

http://www.bkcianyc.org/

Bissell Garden

Wakefield

http://bisselgardens.org/

Bronx Green Up (NYBG)


http://www.nybg.org/green_up/

Bronx Land Trust


http://www.bronxlandtrust.org/

CASA/New Settlement


http://casapower.org/

Friends of Brook Park

South Bronx

http://friendsofbrookpark.org/

Friends of Mosholu Parkland

Norwood / Mosholu / Bedford / Jerome

http://mosholuparkland.wix.com/mosholu

Friends of Van Cortland Park


http://vancortlandt.org/

Friends of Williamsbridge Oval

Norwood

https://www.facebook.com/groups/83607129267/

Hill Street Garden

Melrose

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/6000020001

Knox Gates Neighborhood Association (The COVE)

Norwood

http://www.covebx.org/

La Familia Verde

Crotona / East Tremont / West Farms

http://www.lafamiliaverde.org/

Mothers on the Move

South Bronx

http://mothersonthemove.org/who.html

Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition


http://northwestbronx.org/

Sapna NYC

Westchester Square / Parkchester

http://www.sapnanyc.org/

SoBRO

South Bronx

https://sobro.org/

South Bronx Community Congress

South Bronx

https://www.facebook.com/South-Bronx-Community-Congress-996052360459462/

Sustainable South Bronx

South Bronx

http://www.ssbx.org/

The POINT CDC

Hunts Point

http://thepoint.org/index.php

Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice

South Bronx

http://www.ympj.org/about.html




BROOKLYN


Organization

Neighborhood

Website

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration

Bedford Stuyvesant

http://www.restorationplaza.org/

Benson Avenue Block Association

Bath Beach / Bensonhurst

http://www.citizensnyc.org/grantee/benson-avenue-block-association-0

BK Rot

Bushwick

http://bkrot.org/

Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

DUMBO

http://www.brooklynbridgepark.org/pages/aboutbbpc

Brooklyn Solid Waste Advisory Board & North Brooklyn Compost


https://www.facebook.com/BrooklynSolidWasteAdvisoryBoard/

Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Assoc

Caroll Gardens

http://carrollgardensbrooklyn.org/

CEC 15 Brooklyn


https://www.facebook.com/CECD15/

Celestial Church Buffalo Center

Weeksville

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3013630007/

Center for Family Life

Sunset Park

http://sco.org/programs/center-for-family-life/

Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation

Cypress Hills

http://www.cypresshills.org/chw/

Dean St - Grant Sq.Block Assoc Crown Heights

Crown Heights

https://deanstgrantsq.wordpress.com/

Eden Learning Garden

Brownsville

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3037750150/

El Puente

Williamsburg

http://elpuente.us/

Eldert Street Garden

Bushwick

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3034130063/

Fifth Avenue Committee

South Brooklyn

http://www.fifthave.org/

Flatbush Tenant Coalition

Flatbush

https://flatbushtenantcoalition.wordpress.com/

Friends of Carroll Park

Caroll Gardens

http://www.carrollparkbrooklyn.org/

Friends of Sunset Park

Sunset Park

http://friendsofsunsetpark-brooklyn.blogspot.com/

FUREE

Carroll Gardens / Gowanus

http://furee.org/

Hooper Street Park

Williamsburg

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3024500028/

Imani Garden

Crown Heights

https://www.nyrp.org/green-spaces/garden-details/imani-community-garden/

Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation

Brownsville

http://www.isabahlialoefinc.org/

La Casita Verde: 451 Bedford Ave

Williamsburg

http://www.lacasitaverde.nyc/

Maple Street Community Garden

Prospect Lefferts

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3050300072/

Neighbors Together

Ocean Hill / Brownsville / Bedford-Stuyvesant

http://neighborstogether.org/

NHS of East Flatbush

East Flatbush / Flatbush

http://www.nhsofeastflatbush.org/

Open Space Alliance

Williamsburg / Greenpoint

http://osanb.org/

P.S.335 Granville T. Woods Community Garden

Weeksville

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3013560006/

Parents of Wonderful Children

Crown Heights

https://www.facebook.com/POWCcares

Patchen Community Square Garden

Bedford-Stuyvesant

http://www.patchensquare.com/

People for Green Space

Columbia Heights / DUMBO

http://www.savepier6.org/

Phoenix Community Garden

Brownsville

http://www.grownyc.org/openspace/gardens/bk/phoenix

Pratt Area Community Council

Ft Greene / Clinton Hill

http://pacc.publishpath.com/

Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park

https://www.prospectpark.org/

Roger That! Garden

Crown Heights

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/3012330001/

Silent Barn

Bushwick

http://silentbarn.org/

Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp

Sunset Park / Red Hook / Gowanus

http://www.sbidc.org/

St. Nicks Alliance

Williamsburg / Greenpoint

http://stnicksalliance.org/SNA/

UPROSE

Sunset Park

http://uprose.org/

Workers Justice Project


http://workersjustice.org/

Brooklyn Queens Land Trust


http://bqlt.org/

Catholic Migration


http://catholicmigration.org/

University Settlement


http://www.universitysettlement.org/us/?



MANHATTAN


Organization

Neighborhood

Website

After Dark CAT

West Village

http://www.fatcatmusic.org/

Brotherhood/Sister Sol


http://brotherhood-sistersol.org/

CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities


http://caaav.org/

Carrie McCracken Truth Community Garden St Nicholas

Harlem

https://communitygarden.org/find-a-garden/gardens/carrie-mccracken-truce-garden/

Central Park Conservancy


http://www.centralparknyc.org/

CHDC

Chelsea

http://www.clintonhousing.org/

Chelsea Reform Democratic Club

Chelsea

http://www.crdcnyc.org/

Commission on the Public Health System


http://www.cphsnyc.org/cphs/?

Cooper Square

East Village

https://coopersquare.org/

East Harlem Preservation

Harlem

http://eastharlempreservation.org/

Family2Family Healthy Eating Community Gardening Project

Harlem

http://www.citizensnyc.org/grantee/family-2-family-healthy-eating

Fred Samuel Resident's Association

Harlem

http://www.citizensnyc.org/grantee/frederick-e-samuel-resident-association

Friends of Morningside Park

Harlem

http://morningsidepark.org/

Goddard Riverside Community Center

Riverside

http://www.goddard.org/

GOLES

Lower East Side

http://www.goles.org/

Greenwich Village Historic Preservation Society

West Village / Greenwich Village / East Village / NoHo

http://www.gvshp.org/_gvshp/index.htm

Hamilton Heights-West Harlem Community Preservation Organization

Hamilton Heights / West Harlem

http://westharlemcpo.org/

Hester Street Collaborative

Lower East Side

http://hesterstreet.org/

LES Ready

Lower East Side

http://lesready.org/

Marcus Garvey Park Alliance

Harlem

http://mgpalliance.org/

Mirabal Sisters Cultural & Community Center

Hamilton Heights

http://www.mirabalcenter.org/

National Mobilization Against Sweatshops

Lower East Side / Chinatown

http://www.nmass.org/what-is-nmass/

Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coaliton

Lower East Side

http://sdrpc.mkgarden.org/

Siempre Verde Garden

Lower East Side

http://svgarden.org/

South Harlem CERT

Harlem

https://www.facebook.com/South-Harlem-CERT-699446600098499/

Southern Bronx River Watershed Alliance

South Bronx

https://www.facebook.com/SBRWA/

Union Square Community Coalition

Union Square

http://www.unionsquarecommunitycoalition.org/

Village Independent Democrats

West Village

http://www.villageindependentdemocrats.org/

We Act for Environmental Justice

Harlem

http://www.weact.org/

University Settlement


http://www.universitysettlement.org/us/?


QUEENS


Organization

Neighborhood

Website

Chhaya CDC


http://chhayacdc.org/

Community of Maspeth & Elmhurst Together

Maspeth / Elmhurst / Woodside

http://www.cometcivic.com/

Edgemere Coalition Community Garden

Rockaway

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/58285/

Flushing Meadows Corona Park Conservancy

Flushing / Corona

http://www.fmcp-conservancy.org/

Flushing Workers Center

Flushing

http://www.sweatny.org/who-we-are/

Frank Ave Civic Association Garden

Rockaway

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/4158370012/

Free Synogogue of Flushing

Flushing

http://freesynagogueflushing.org/

Green Earth Urban Gardens Inc.

Woodhaven

http://www.greenearthurbangardens.org/

Grenada Daycare Garden

Rockaway

http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/4159520013/

Jackson Heights Beautification Group

Jackson Heights

http://www.jhbg.org/

Jackson Heights Green Alliance

Jackson Heights

http://jhgreen.org/

Kissena Park Civic Association

Kissena Park

http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/Kissena_Park

Malba Gardens Civic Association

Whitestone

http://malbagardens.blogspot.com/

Queens Civic Congress


http://www.queensciviccongress.org/

Queens Coalition for Parks and Open Spaces


http://www.oasisnyc.net/stewardship/organizationdetails.aspx?id=1429

Queens Community House


https://qchnyc.wordpress.com/

Queens Neighborhood United


https://www.facebook.com/QueensNeighborhoodsUnited

Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association

Ridgewood

http://www.rpoca.org/

Rocky Hill Civic Association


http://www.rockyhillcivicassociation.com/

Rosedale Civic Association

Rosedale

http://www.rosedalecivic.org/

Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Flushing Meadows Park

http://www.savefmcp.org/

Smiling Hogshead Ranch

Long Island City

https://www.facebook.com/SmilingHogsheadRanch

Woodside on the Move

Woodside

http://www.woodsideonthemove.org/

Queensboro Hill Flushing Civil Association

Queensboro Hill / Flushing

http://www.qhcivic.org/

Brooklyn Queens Land Trust


http://bqlt.org/

Catholic Migration


http://catholicmigration.org/

 

News from the Acres - January 9, 2016

09 January 2016

17 gardens that took the place of vacant lots via 596 Acres' facilitation became permanently protected community gardens over the holiday! 

The big news first: 36 gardens were transferred to the NYC Parks Department over the winter holiday for permanent preservation. 17 of them were vacant lots that neighbors transformed with through 596 Acres' facilitation. 15 had been offered for sale to housing developers for $1 last year and have now been decisively re-routed. You can read about the transfers and 596 Acres' role in Hyperallergic (January 8, 2016), CityLimits / Brooklyn Deep (January 4, 2016) and DNAinfo (December 31, 2015). Congratulations to all the organizers and advocates who worked tirelessly to make our key neighborhood spaces indispensable and thank you to our collaborators in the Administration who listened! Let's keep going! 

WORK WITH US
We are looking for a designer to co-create a new web tool called NYCommons. The project is a collaboration between Common Cause/NY, Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center and 596 Acres, Inc. Details are here; this is a paid project and responses are due January 20, 2016. 

We are also hiring a new Program Manager for our New York City Community Land Access Program. This is a paid full time position with benefits. Details are here. Applications accepted until the position is filled. 

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Rockaway Park, Queens - Neighbors saw our signs on a lot on Beach 84th Street and started organizing for a new garden in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Now they have teamed up with the compost masterminds of Edgemere Farm at Beach 45th Street Community Farm to get the support they need. Join them by reading the notes on the lot's page or contacting Travis: t.andersoncap@gmail.com, 646 662 0585.

Jamaica, Queens - Katia says, "This lot is adjacent to a school where I work. We would like to build a school/community garden." Join her: sign up for updates on the lot's page or contact her directly: katiadepass@hotmail.com, 570-269-1615.

East Side, Manhattan - Community Board 8 Parks and Recreation Committee is actively pursuing having this MTA land on East 63rd Street at 2nd Avenue set aside as a park. The MTA will vacate in 2018. Community Board 8 Parks and Recreation Committee meets to discuss on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 - 6:30pm at Brick Presbyterian Church, 62 East 92nd Street (Madison-Park), Carnegie Room. Contact Jill, jappelny@hotmail.com and sign up for updates on the lot's page.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Help make a new garden on private land! The family that owns this lot on Hegeman and Milford bought it to create a community garden. They are looking for collaborators. Contact organizers@596acres.org to be connected. 

Gowanus, Brooklyn - Back in 2013, 596 Acres connected members of the President Street Block Association with the process they would need to follow to create a new garden formally through GreenThumb and made a presentation explaining the same to their community board; we also connected them to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The Block Association took it from there. We’re happy that the City-owned lot on their block is now a permanent open space asset in the inventory of the NYC Parks Department. You can read about the preservation of the President Street Garden in DNAinfo. #35!

Citywide - In the wake of recent transfers to NYC Parks, Housing Preservation and Development is reviewing stalled applications to have these still-vacant lots also transferred for permanent preservation as GreenThumb gardens: Eden Learning Garden in Brownsville, P.S.335 Granville T. Woods Community Garden and Celestial Church Buffalo Center in Weeksville, Edgemere Coalition Community Garden in Rockaway, and Hooper Street Park in South Williamsburg. These organizers have been waiting over a year to hear back from GreenThumb.
GARDENS AT RISK
Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Assembly Member Diana Richardson and Senator Velmanette Montgomery introduced identical bills at our urging last week aimed at protecting the Roger That! garden as a park. Both the Assembly (A. 8583) and Senate (S. 6093) bills contain this language: "The legislature hereby finds that it is necessary for a public purpose to procure [115 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, Block 1233 Lot 1], through the use of the eminent domain procedure... for a state park and community garden to be managed by neighborhood volunteers through the New York City parks department green thumb program." This is a great time to let Council Member Robert Cornegy know that you support the preservation of Roger That! as a community space: call the office at 718-919-0740. Gardeners will be spiffying up the place today, Saturday January 9, 11-2pm. Come by! 

Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Save the date to come support the Imani I Garden in Landlord Tenant court as they resist an illegal eviction by the speculators who bought one lot of their garden at a post-tax lien foreclosure auction. A giant willow tree and the largest chicken coop in Brooklyn are what is at stake. The original debt that led to the foreclosure was $3,200; the speculator bought the property for $365,000 last year and now has it listed for $690,000. The gardeners are committed to resisting displacement via this flip. 596 Acres and Mohen & Segal LLP are supporting them. Join us in court to show you stand with communities against displacement: Friday, January 22, 10am at 141 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, Room 603

Harlem, Manhattan - Organizers of Mandela Garden, who have been de-paving the space by hand and establishing a wildflower oasis are building support to have it transferred to the NYC Parks Department. The agency that has jurisdiction over the land has offered it to housing developers instead (responses are due February 23, 2016). Last year, fifteen of the active gardens recently transferred to NYC Parks had been offered just like this. Organizers got the City to change direction via letters, rallies, and awesome gardens. Get in touch with Rene Calvo to organize for garden preservation (renecalvo@gmail.com, (917) 275-6577).

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative is establishing a Steering Committee and continuing to build a financing cooperative to strike back at the displacement of key cultural, retail, cooperative and manufacturing space in NYC. Read the latest here. The next All Member meeting and opportunity to join is on January 28, 2016 at New Middle Collegiate Church on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street in Manhattan

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Partnerships for Parks' Capacity Fund Grant program provides small grants of up to $5,000 to strengthen the outreach, membership, and program-planning capacity of community groups who care for their neighborhood parks, gardens and green spaces in all five boroughs of New York City. Project work must be on NYC Parks Department property. Good news for all these transferred gardens! Next deadline: February 1, 2016.

Remember: resident-led groups can apply for up to $3,000 in Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City to work on community and school projects throughout the city. Application Deadline: January 25, 2016.

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.


Patchen Community Square, a garden that was bulldozed once under Giuliani and brought back from the abandoned vacant lot that travesty left the neighborhood by neighbors working with 596 Acres, is now a protected NYC Parks Department garden. It was previously identified as a housing development site in Jan 2015. Gardeners and advocates organized all year to get it off the list of gardens doomed to close - and won! The land has been decisively re-routed from private development to public good!

Sweet sweet 16,
Paula, for 596 Acres

New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative January 2016 Update

08 January 2016

Dear NYC REIC Members, 

Happy 2016! The first newsletter of the new year focuses on our Governance! Read on for ways to get involved as we build our cooperative and formalize our structure.

WE NEED YOUR HELP

Scroll down for opportunities to help by facilitating upcoming meetings, making calls to remind members about upcoming events, helping with our member data management and joining workgroups.

NEED TO JOIN?

You can sign up here and complete your membership process IN PERSON on Thursday, January 28, at 6pm or 8:30pm at New Middle Collegiate Church, 2nd Ave and 7th Street, in the East Village in Manhattan. You will be an active member once you have done these three things:

(1) Read and signed the member agreement (in person or online);

(2) Contributed a membership fee of $10 (in person); and

(3) Attending a quarterly All-Member NYC REIC meeting (next chance: January 28, 2016!).

You will then be expected to conduct yourself in accordance with the principles of cooperation. Active members only can participate in Workgroups and the Steering Committee and make nominations, as described below.

ARE YOU FOLLOWING US FROM AFAR?

REIC U (the Case Studies Workgroup) is doing incredible research into best practices that can be applied to your nascent social justice-driven real estate investment projects as well. Scroll down for a detailed report-back.


WE’RE BUILDING OUR COOPERATIVE!

Our next steps will be to elect a Steering Committee and finalize its Charter. 

What is the Steering Committee?

The Steering Committee will be NYC REIC’s first democratically elected governing body. It will help govern the REIC and act on our behalf while steering our work on a longer-term governing structure. As part of this work, it will be responsible guiding the REIC to the point where we put in place a permanent governing body (such as a Board of Directors). The NYC REIC opened the nominations for Steering Committee on January 5th, and we will hold elections for those seats at our next General Meeting on January 28th. Members can nominate themselves or other members here.

Please come to the Meet the Candidates meeting to hear directly from nominees for the Steering Committee - and for a last chance to make nominations - on Thursday, January 14th at 6:30-8:00 pm, at 33 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn on the 6th floor. 

What is the Charter?

The Charter is a short document defining the rights and responsibilities of the Steering Committee. It states, for instance, whether the Steering Committee will be able to sign contracts on behalf of the REIC, whether they will be able to spend money collected by the REIC, and whether they will be empowered to file the necessary documents with the State to form the REIC as a business entity. It also specifies how the Board will be established, or if the Steering Committee is required to bring this decision to back to the membership. Governance has presented a final draft Charter, and we invite all members to continue to provide final comments!

How will this all come together?

Here’s how the process will work:

  • ONLINE, January 5: The Governance Workgroup integrated feedback from the December 14 meeting into a draft of a Charter and sent it to all members for final objections. HERE IS THE FINAL DRAFT. Click to read it.

  • ONLINE, January 5: The nominations period for the Steering Committee has opened.

  • IN PERSON, January 14: We will hold a “Meet the Candidates” meeting on Thursday, January 14th at 6:30-8:00 pm, at 33 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn on the 6th floor. On this night, we will incorporate final comments to the Charter so that it can be put into place, meet candidates for the Steering Committee nominated through the online form (here) and make floor nominations for new candidates. Nominees can accept their nominations, knowing what will be in the Charter.

  • IN PERSON, January 28: We will hold elections for the Steering Committee and ratify the Charter at our next General Meeting on Thursday, January 28, 6:30-8:30pm at New Middle Collegiate Church, 2nd Ave and 7th Street, in the East Village in Manhattan.

MEMBERS! Please come to the January 14 and January 28 meetings, as your involvement is crucial to the success of this work! This is a huge step for REIC and the result of a huge amount of effort and input from many of us, particularly the members of the Governance Workgroup. Many thanks to Governance and everyone who has participated in this process!

MEETING FACILITATORS NEEDED

Can you volunteer to come early or stay late to set up, clean up, sign NYC REIC members in, and sign new members up to join? We need members to volunteer to help at the following times:

Thursday, January 14, 5-7pm at 33 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn

Thursday, January 14, 7-9pm at 33 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn

Thursday, January 28, 5-7pm at 2nd Ave and 7th Street in Manhattan

Thursday, January 28, 7-9pm at 2nd Ave and 7th Street in Manhattan

If you can sign up, email info@nycreic.com with the date and time as the subject line. THANK YOU!

PHONE TREE!

Calling other REIC members is fun! Have a few minutes to spare this month? Want to wish lovely folks you are getting to know a happy new year? Give them a call on the phone to remind them about the key upcoming meetings on January 14 and 28. Directions are here.

WORKGROUP REPORT-BACKS!

ARTS & MEDIA

If you are interested in getting involved in our work, please come to our next meeting on January 21, from 7-9 pm, at 139 Fulton Street, in Manhattan (Apt. 903). Please contact Leland at leland.cheuk@gmail.com to post on a topic specific to your workgroup or anything else related to the REIC in the NYC REIC blog.

GOVERNANCE

The Governance Workgroup held a very well attended all-member meeting on December 14 to discuss what the Steering Committee’s rights and responsibilities should be. Based on this feedback, Governance has presented a draft Charter, and we invite all members to continue to provide additional comments! Please send us your thoughts, questions, and insights at reicgovernance@gmail.com.


MEMBER DATA MANAGEMENT

We could still greatly use some more technical help to join our crew - we're looking for someone who has great data / web skills. Ideally you're great at using CMSes with a solid grasp of HTML/CSS under your belt, have a good understanding of data formats (CSVs, JSON, etc.), maybe some familiarity with databases and web development, even? We really want to make sure we have good systems in place for communication, decision-making and tracking our input. Email info@nycreic.com with the subject PHONE TREE if this is you!

CASE STUDIES / REIC U

Case Studies began the month of December with a brainstorming meeting in pursuit of a new educational tool for REIC U that will highlight promising governing structures for the REIC and deal with other important questions, like mechanisms for keeping commercial space permanently affordable and for addressing systemic injustices through our structure and practices. To make this pursuit easier, members broke off into different research tracks in preparation for the month of January, some of which are highlighted below.

As part of their research, the facilitators of Case Studies and the Interim Facilitation work group attended a Skype session with Seth Leon from the Alberta Community and Co-operative Association, who gave the REIC a great range of ideas for governance structures, membership engagement, and financial mechanisms (more on ACCA’s work can be found here: http://acca.coop/, and the audio from this session can be found here: Audio Link).

Members spent the rest of the month pursuing additional investigation tracks in preparation for the January 7 meeting, where we shared the findings of our research and continued to brainstorm our next REIC U educational tool. New members are welcome to join! To reach Case Studies Workgroup by email: nyc-reic-case-studies@googlegroups.com


PBIG (Public Buildings Inventory Group & Community Outreach)

During the month of December, we continued to divide tasks among ourselves and the properties we have continued to consider feasible for potential REIC projects, in Jamaica, Coney Island and the South Bronx, as well as looking into other potential properties. We have been planning our best routes of community outreach, conducting further research, and connecting with the relevant government agencies.

PBIG made a strong showing at the Governance meeting in December, and then held its own meeting just before Christmas to plan our next steps in the new year. We hope to have a joint meeting with the Case Studies workgroup soon.

We are holding our next meeting just prior to the Meet the Candidates meeting, between January 11-13, TBD. If you would like to get involved, please email us at: nycreic--public-buildings-inventory-group@googlegroups.com

One more note:

A shout-out and a big thank-you are due to Urban Cartographies for a generous donation to Spaceworks, Inc. to support the expenses incurred by the NYC REIC in its incubation!

 

Become a Member of NYC REIC

There are 4 requirements for active membership in NYC REIC:

(1) Reading and signing the member agreement;

(2) Contributing a membership fee of $10;

(3) Attending a quarterly All-Member NYC REIC meeting (next chance: January 28, 2016!);

(4) Endeavoring to conduct membership in accordance with the principles of cooperation.


Check out our Calendar:

We maintain a Google Calendar with all workgroup meetings. Please add this to your gCal, or look at http://nycreic.com/meet to stay updated with our meeting times:

https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=audtb9vef3vbc7rt6jem0q0sss%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America%2FNew_York  


Please Help Cover our Current Operating Expenses!
You can support REIC’s development by making a charitable donation during this incubation period for very basic expenses, like the monthly charges that must be paid to circulate this e-newsletter. Please contact us at info@nycreic.com if you’d like to make a charitable contribution (not an investment) during the incubation period of the NYC REIC. 


REIC Learn and Share

What the REIC? Check Out Our Video:

http://nycreic.com/1-minute/

Please take a minute, literally, to check out this amazing video that NYC REIC members produced to explain the REIC in under 60 seconds, and share widely.

 


Stay connected:  

If you add reic4nyc@gmail.com to your email contacts, this newsletter will come directly to your primary inbox instead of your promotions inbox or your spam folder. Also, if you're interested in helping with this newsletter, please drop us a line at reic4nyc@gmail.com.

Join our mailing list for bi-weekly newsletters: http://eepurl.com/biNPEr

Join the FaceBook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/REIC4NYC/

Learn more online: http://nycreic.com

Come to a meeting: http://nycreic.com/meet

In Cooperation,  

New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative

NYCommons Call for Designers

06 January 2016

This is a request for proposals for graphic and interaction design support for NYCommons.org, a website tool modeled on LivingLotsNYC.org to be built on its source code by the 596 Acres team. The site will display information about five distinct types of public real estate assets:

 

  1. Vacant public land and community gardens on land owned by City agencies and State Authorities;

  2. Post offices;

  3. Libraries;

  4. New York City Housing Authority campuses and other property; and

  5. Publicly-owned waterfront property.  

Background. NYCommons is a collaboration between Common Cause/NY, Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center and 596 Acres, Inc. We have already spent a year conducting research through meetings with over 100 organizations and community activists across NYC. Through our initial phase of outreach and research, we identified the five types of public assets we will focus on during our next phase of the project.    

Contact. Paula Z. Segal, Esq., Director, 596 Acres, paula@596acres.org, (718) 316-6092 x 2

Request for Proposals. We are looking for graphic and interaction design support to build on the logo (above) and create a look and feel for NYCommons.org:

Logo: development of the logo and a branding style guide so the logo can is used across various platforms in a consistent way, both on the web and in print.

Website: Front end design of templates for interactive map tool, modeled on LivingLotsNYC.org, including associated illustrations, icons, and other digital assets.

Interaction design: Design of user experience and flow of elements, developed in conjunction with development team and based on LivingLotsNYC.org. 

Compensation. The budget for design of the entire project is $7,600 (this is exclusive of our budget to build).

Timeline. Graphic design elements must be ready for integration into development by June 1, 2016. Interaction design must be completed by July 1, 2016.

Please provide 3-5 samples of relevant past work, a suggested timeline for completion (including design iterations) and an (optional) draft design utilizing the logo above in a web element (e.g. a banner).  We are particularly looking to evaluate your strength in building on an existing visual identity. Samples of past projects that included building around an existing logo or other elements would be great to see.

Applications are due Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at 5:59pm. Selections will be made by February 1, 2016.


Terra Firma: A Letter from the 596 Acres Team to Close Out 2015

31 December 2015

____

34 vacant lots transformed into community spaces through 596 Acres's facilitation.
4 in 2015! 

28 community spaces on ex-vacant lots are now protected 
through 596 Acres' advocacy.
17 protected in 2015!


11 existing community spaces saved from eviction & demolition through 596 Acres' organizing & legal support.
10 saved in 2015!

____

SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. 

DONATE HERE. 


Wow! We have blazed a trail of awesomeness through 2015.

2015 was a year of rising to meet new challenges. This year, for the first time, we devoted significant resources to campaigns on behalf of groups with existing community spaces that were under threat of closure, development, or eviction. Some of those were spaces that we had helped neighbors create over the last four years, and some have been key community spaces in their neighborhoods for much longer than that. 

This new (and growing) practice of protecting existing community spaces is a natural outgrowth of our work transforming vacant lots and has produced huge results for communities in 2015. Today’s big news is that the NYC Parks Department has responded to our advocacy by permanently preserving 34 previously-precarious community spaces into the parklands inventory. You can read about this breaking development here from us, and in DNAinfoCapital New York, and The Lo-Down.

Through facilitation, advocacy organizing and legal support, we helped 24 community spaces gain protection this year, either by helping them become part of a land trust, sign a lease with a public Authority, or secure the transfer of their land to the NYC Parks Department. 

The landscape ahead remains challenging, but it feels pretty great to leave 2015 with these victories toward a greener, stronger, more awesome and more connected NYC. This year we helped communities exert real power in their neighborhoods and achieve real victories. 

Here’s the thing, though: it has been a constant fight to fund this work. That’s the truth. We’re ok for now, but to keep fighting this hard, innovating, and winning battles with communities, we need to be financially secure for the future

If you haven’t given to 596 Acres yet and you want to see what we can achieve in 2016, 2017, and beyond, please donate! Every donation counts -- if there is anything we’ve learned it’s that our strength lies in combining what we each can bring to the table. Together we are SO powerful. Please help us keep doing this work!

In community, 
Paula, Rachel, Eric, Patrick, Kris, Moses, Liz and the entire 596 Acres Team

SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. 
DONATE HERE. 

Gardens Being Transferred to NYC Parks!

29 December 2015

The following gardens formerly on HPD land are being transferred to the NYC Parks Department:

MANHATTAN (5) 

West 111th Street Harlem Garden (Electric Ladybug)** (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)(covered in DNAinfo on December 31, 2015)

Henry Garnet Garden (Harlem Grown) (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1(covered in DNAinfo on December 31, 2015)

Harlem Valley Garden** (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1) (covered in DNAinfo on December 31, 2015)

Casa Frela Sculpture Garden**

Siempre Verde Garden** (covered in The Lo-Down on December 30, 2015 and Bowery Boogie on January 4, 2016).

BROOKLYN (27)

Chestnut Street Garden**

Ashford Teaching Garden**

Ashford Variety Garden**

South Brooklyn Children's Garden**

Pirate's Cove Community Garden**

Java Street Garden**

Saratoga BSCAH Urban Farm**

451 Bedford Avenue Garden (La Casita Verde)(previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)**

Patchen Community Square (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)**

Halsey Ralph Howard Community Garden (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)

462 Halsey Garden (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)**

Willoughby Avenue Garden (Tranquility Farm)(previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)

Evergreen Lots Garden (El Garden)(previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)**

Student Farm Project (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)

Ten Neighbors/Saratoga Blake Garden (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)**

Green Valley Garden (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)

Imani II Garden (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)

Isabahlia Garden (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)

Brownsville Community Farm / James McKeather Garden

Prophecy Garden Church of God

President Street Garden** (covered in DNAinfo on January 5, 2016)

East 43rd Street Block Association Garden

Hattie Carthan Herb Farm

Her-King Alagantic Garden

Positive Seeds of Life Garden

Surfside Garden

Pagan's Garden

QUEENS (1)

McKinley's Children Garden (previously on the HPD RFQ list, offered for sale to developers for $1)

BRONX (3)

Libertad Urban Farm

Rincon Criollo

Havemeyer Garden

This is great news. Lots of gardens that were threatened with becoming housing development sites through the Request for Qualifications issued by NYC HPD early this year are on this list and now protected. Sites that were at risk are listed here: http://596acres.org/news/2015/01/21/gardens-on-housing-preservation-and-developments-hpd-list-of-sites-available-for-housing-development/ (three remain threatened: New Harvest in Brooklyn; Jackie Robinson and Pleasant Valley in Harlem).

This raises the tally of sites now protected as Parks Gardens that were created through 596 Acres' facilitation from **8 to 25**. The ones in our network on the list above have ** next to them.

Some general press coverage: 

Hyperallergic (January 8, 2016) 

CityLimits (January 4, 2016)

Brooklyn Deep (January 4, 2016)

DNAinfo (December 31, 2015)

Capital New York (December 30, 2015)

And some legal context:

http://livinglotsnyc.org/faq/#can-new-york-city-agency-just-tell-me-my-group-cant-use-lot-anymore-after-we-put-work-it

Can a New York City agency just tell me that my group can't use the lot anymore after we put work into it?

If the site belongs to the city and has a GreenThumb license, Parks Department regulations require GreenThumb to provide your group with an alternate site as long as one is available either within 1/2 mile of the existing garden or within your Community District. This rule applies to any City Agency site (Housing Preservation and Development, Parks & Recreation, etc.).

For sites that are under the Parks Department's jurisdiction or otherwise considered "parkland" by the public, the City Agency also needs to get approval from the State Legislature to turn the site into something other than open space. The law that makes this approval necessary is called the "public trust doctrine." If your group signs an agreementment that explicitly states the site is for "interim use," it's not likely that public trust doctrine will apply. The City Agency will be able to assign another use without state approval, but will still need to provide your garden group with an alternate site if one is available.

News from the Acres - December 17, 2015

17 December 2015

winter wonder land

Tomorrow, Friday, December 18, 8:30 am - 7pm, come to the 596 Acres Pop Up Gift Shop, 540 President Street, Brooklyn, NY. We will have such sweet gifts for your sweeties!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Prospect-Lefferts, Brooklyn - The Maple Street Community Garden will be presenting its story to Brooklyn Community Board 9 on Tuesday December 22 at 7pm, 400 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn NY 11225. Come voice your support for the garden! Anyone can sign up to speak. Do! You can also support the Maple Street Community Garden by writing letters to the state senators and assembly members who are reviewing the bills directing New York State to protect the garden by making it a Park, introduced by Jesse Hamilton and Diana Richardson; you’ll find all the materials right here.

Crown Heights, Brooklyn - Assembly Member Diana Richardson and Senator Velmanette Montgomery introduced identical bills at our urging last week aimed at protecting the Roger That! garden as a park. Both the Assembly (A. 8583) and Senate (S. 6093) bills contain this language: "The legislature hereby finds that it is necessary for a public purpose to procure certain property within the city of New York. To that extent, the commissioner of parks, recreation and historic preservation is hereby directed to take, through the use of the eminent domain procedure as established under the eminent domain procedure law, the parcel in the borough of Brooklyn known as 115 Rogers Avenue, Brooklyn, Block 1233 Lot 1, for a state park and community garden to be managed by neighborhood volunteers through the New York City parks department green thumb program." This is a great time to let Council Member Robert Cornegy know that you support the preservation of Roger That! as a community space: call the office at 718-919-0740. 
 
Bushwick, Brooklyn - We heard from the agency that has jurisdiction over it that there are no plans for a lot on Dekalb down the block from Know Waste Lands. The spot would be great for outdoor movies and other community events. Time to start organizing! Sign up on the lot's pageor contact us at organizers@596acres.org / 718-316-6092 x 1. 

Bushwick, Brooklyn - At our urging, Council Member Espinal wrote a letter to the NYPD asking that this lot on Stockholm Street be considered for a potential new park and garden. It is a great letter. Time to get organized in support of this vision! Sign up on the lot's page or contact us at organizers@596acres.org / 718-316-6092 x 1.

Laurelton, Queens - Katia says, "This lot on Lovingham Place is adjacent to a school where I work. We would like to build a school/community garden." Sign up on the lot's page or connect with her to help make it happen: katiadepass@hotmail.com, 570-269-1615

LOTS WITH ACCESS
Harlem, Manhattan - Mandala Garden on West 126th Street and Adam Clayton Powell continuesde-paving by hand. The next strike is this Saturday, December 19 at 11am

COLLABORATORS
The Brooklyn Collage Urban Soil Institute will test your soil for all our health. They just concluded that community gardens in New York City are much safer, on average, than backyard gardens. You can read a summary of their study here. Specifically: "Public gardens tend to be more actively cultivated than backyard ones, and additions of new compost or topsoil can dilute contaminants." Go community! Get your soil tested by putting some in a ziplock bag and following the directions here.

Gowanus, Brooklyn - Our wonderful hosts Spaceworks have created more affordable workspace for artists in Gowanus. They are having an open house, tomorrow, Friday, December 18, 4-8pm, at 540 President Street, Brooklyn 11215, and are looking for both individuals and organizations to use the newly renovated spaces. More details here.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Time to get your Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City! Citizens Committee awards micro-grants of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups to work on community and school projects throughout the city. More info and application on their website. Application Deadline: January 25, 2016.

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.


Eldert Street Gardeners in Bushwick using their newly found freedom to mulch and rake and fertilize last week.

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 


Enjoy the season! Til the last of the year,

Paula, for 596 Acres

Let's Keep Collaborating in 2016!

10 December 2015

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE

logo_high-1.png


“Community gardens, community parks, and turning empty lots into flourishing gardens is incredibly important to all New Yorkers.

Jason Price, dad, 123 Street Block Association Member, Harlem, Manhattan
 

The work of 596 Acres suggests that…. ordinary people are poised to reimagine and reconfigure the sacrifice zones left behind by the reigning calculus of land valuation … making maximum use of them as a collective resource, in a maximally inclusive way.” Adam Greenfield, Author, Scholar, London School of Economics
 

596 Acres is the catalyst that has saved [our] Garden.”

Andrea Drummond, Roger That! Gardener and Crown Heights Youth Collective Member, Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Dear Friend of 596 Acres,
 

Together, we are are winning. We are expanding the conversation about vacant land in cities around the world and getting ordinary New Yorkers involved in the land use decisions that affect their communities. Over the last four years, through our organizing tools, advocacy, and leadership, we have engaged hundreds of people and helped neighbors create thirty-four new community spaces where there were once only neglected vacant lots, including four in 2015.
 

In 2015 alone, we provided organizing and litigation support that helped three community garden groups win in court and avoid eviction. We facilitated bringing the 1100 Bergen Street Garden in Crown Heights into the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, protecting a 35-year old community institution in perpetuity. We curated Reviewing Renewal, a historic exhibition at the Queens Museum that transformed the Panorama of the City of New York into a tool to see the impacts of urban renewal area planning on NYC and the opportunities for community control that remain. Our research and advocacy has led to the inclusion of vacant and abandoned properties on the NYC City Council agenda as they study the impacts of the annual tax lien sale on New Yorkers and neighborhoods. We got legislation introduced at the State level to preserve not one but two existing community spaces that are at risk of disappearing to speculative housing development: reminding New Yorkers and lawmakers that eminent domain can be used for good! These are only a few of the hundreds of land access stories we helped make possible in 2015. More are in our 2015 Annual Report. None of them would have been possible without the support of donors like you – you helped lay the groundwork for an exciting and challenging year of community land access advocacy. I am writing today to ask for your continued collaboration as we expand our impact.

 

This is an exciting and challenging time for community land access. Citywide changes in land-use priorities require us to constantly improve and invent organizing strategies; new development programs and unscrupulous developers threaten to uproot vibrant but unprotected community spaces. Yet, new organizers by the hundreds are joining Living Lots NYC, our online platform, and advocates in cities around the world are planting the seeds of technical and advocacy innovations modeled on 596 Acres. I write to you this week having just returned from speaking at a convening of government actors and potential land stewards in Chicago on the subject of collaboration and pathways to community access to public land.
 

Our work is needed, more than ever. We are committed to democratizing urban spaces in the face of new challenges. Your gift will ensure that we can reach more communities, get more neighbors involved, unlock more fences and continue to serve as an in-demand thought leader to advocates around the world. I hope that you will consider supporting 596 Acres as we head together into 2016. Happy holidays!

 

In solidarity and gratitude,


 

Paula Z. Segal

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE ONLINE HERE 

News from the Acres - December 5, 2015

05 December 2015

2015 was a stunner!

Over the last twelve months, 596 Acres has helped hundreds of New Yorkers create thriving spaces out of decaying vacant lots in their neighborhoods. This year, our organizing tools, community land access advocacy, and leadership have led to decisive wins. Read our annual report here and help us keep going in 2016. 596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE

IN THE PRESS
Last week, 596 Acres was featured in Next City and on Gothamist's list of local organizations to support this season.

CITY COUNCIL FOCUS ON URBAN AGRICULTURE & LAND ACCESS
On Thursday, we testified before City Council's Committee on Economic Development at a hearing on a proposed Urban Agriculture Advisory. You can read Paula's full testimony here. An excerpt:
"Agriculture in the city is a vibrant, local and regenerative infrastructure, practiced as a craft and a business. I commend you for recognizing that, and look forward to conversations through which the broadness swath of regulatory and policy issues each of our urban agriculture practices touches becomes a regular subject in the council... Land disposition for municipal real estate may need its own focused committee to address a multiplicity of community needs, not just the needs of urban agriculture practitioners. I urge that such a committee be created, and focused on land disposition."

SAVE THE DATE: Friday, December 18, 8:30 am - 7pm, come to the 596 Acres Pop Up Gift Shop, 540 President Street, Brooklyn, NY. We will have such sweet gifts for your sweeties!

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Jamaica, Queens - Pastor Doris Johnson, of the Holy Ghost Upper Room of Faith Tabernacle Church, would welcome a collaboration on a sunny corner lot at 105th Avenue and Liverpoolowned by the church that would bring fresh fruits and vegetables to the neighborhood and some income to the church (in the form of rent or grants or income from produce sales). She can be reached at 718-791-1183 / pastordoris1@aol.com. 

Long Island City, Queens - This week, our efforts towards a collaborative vision for a the reuse of a former rail line in Long Island City were extensively covered in Curbed. It's not too late to join the Cut Off Coalition in responding to MTA's invitation for an adaptive re-use plan for a former rail line. The next formal meeting will by on January 6, 2016, but send a note to Montauk Cutoff RFEI  and review notes from past meetings anddocuments to get caught up. The proposal is due February 26, 2016. 

Edgemere, Queens - Housing Preservation and Development's Second Visioning Session for a new community plan for the whole neighborhood will be on Saturday, December 12, 11am to 2pm, at the Beach 41st St Cornerstone Community Center. You can RSVP here. This is a good opportunity to shape the future of the neighborhood and to advocate directly for the Edgemere Community Coalition Garden, the Frank Avenue Civic Association Garden and a future children's garden on Beach 36th Street
 
South Bronx - It was great to hear Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo voice her public support of the future Hill Street Community Garden at City Council's hearing on a bill proposing an Urban Agriculture Advisory. The Council Member is stepping down at the end of the month; give her office a call so that getting the Department of Transportation to sign a contract permitting the garden doesn't fall off her list of final to-dos: 718-402-6130 . 
LOTS WITH ACCESS
Harlem, Manhattan - Electric Ladybug Garden is holding a coat drive on December 12, 12 pm - 4 pm at the garden, 237 W. 111th Street. Come drop off your old coats! Welcoming all shapes and sizes!

Harlem, Manhattan - Mandala Garden on West 126th Street and Adam Clayton Powell continuesde-paving by hand. The next strike is Sunday, December 19 at 11am. "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Meade

COLLABORATORS
The NYC Compost Project at Brooklyn Botanic Garden is hiring an Outreach Coordinator! Details are here

Does your park or Parks Department Garden have a fence that just gets in the way? NYC Parks Department's new Parks without Borders wants to take it down! Connect with them here and let us know how it goes. 

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Get up to $2000 for an event on your public land from the National Environmental Education Foundation. Applications are due December 15, 2015. More details here

Time to get your Neighborhood Grants from Citizens Committee for New York City! Citizens Committee awards micro-grants of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups to work on community and school projects throughout the city. More info and application on their website. Application Deadline: January 25, 2016.

We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $200,000 for their growing spaces. Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you?

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

596 Acres in 2015: Our Annual Report!

04 December 2015

With your support, we have had an amazing year. Click here to read about 2015 and please continue to support community land access advocacy by donating online or by check

City Council Hearing Today on Proposed Urban Agriculture Advisory

03 December 2015

The New York City Council Committee on Economic Development is holding a hearing at 1pm today at 250 Broadway on the 14th Floor on a proposed bill that would create an Urban Agriculture Advisory Committee to advise on "matter[s] relating to agriculture in the city, including the identification of existing and potential agricultural food production sites, opportunities to increase local agricultural food production, impediments to local agricultural food production, and urban agriculture training programs and expansion thereof." 

Paula Z. Segal will be testifying for 596 Acres, commending the bill and urging the creation of another mechanism empowered to address the disposition of public land specifically. You can read Paula's full testimony here. 

An exerpt: 

The universe of activities that can be defined as “urban agriculture” is broad, spanning from neighbor­tended community gardens, to production farms, to goats being used instead of pesticides to keep the weeds down. What unites urban agriculture practitioners is the need for space to practice: land access is fundamental to any community­based or entrepreneurial agriculture activity. Land disposition for municipal real estate may need its own focused committee to address a multiplicity of community needs, not just the needs of urban agriculture practitioners. I urge that such a committee be created, and focused on land disposition.

The Urban Agriculture Advisory, as proposed today, will be a great collaborator to practitioners of urban agriculture no matter the underlying ownership of the land. There are regulatory and collaborative hurdles for programs that a cross-­sector advisory with members of City Agencies will be well­ positioned to address.

The land access issues are more complex, and I believe they require greater focus and collaboration with other community advocates working on the development of permanently community­controlled affordable housing, of parks, and of other community facilities. Such a committee could be charged with studying the entire municipal real estate inventory, altering the process through which the Department of Citywide Administrative services assigns land to agencies that frequently then hold it with no development for decades, and assessing the “surplus” real estate auction through which our public lands and buildings are currently regularly offered for purchase by private developers.

News from the Acres - November 25, 2015

25 November 2015

Thankful to be building the big picture, together, one space at a time. 

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE. 
This holiday season, we're sharing ‪#‎596Stories‬ - stories and pictures from four years of 596 Acres: hard work, unlocking fences, community dialogue, sunflowers, tomatoes, playing, growing, fighting side by side for what matters. Here's an early story, via video from Feedback Farms. Please share your stories with us too! 

BOOK BINDING VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: SUNDAY NOVEMBER 29
Spend a bit of the holiday season with us! Come to the 596 Acres office and help assemble our little books 11-3pm. There will be hot beverages, fortified for grown ups, and pie. And chat-chat-chatting. Email organizers@596acres.org to RSVP.

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
East New York, Brooklyn - The Warwick Street Community Glow Garden is nearly back in action! Neighbor Taylor has organized a group and submitted a registration packet to GreenThumb. The abandoned lot is already in the inventory of the Parks Department, so land access is just a fence-repair and signature away! This will be #33 in vacant-lot-to-community-space transformations that 596 Acres has facilitated! 

Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The organizers focused on 463 Tompkins met this week and will meet again on Tuesday, December 1 at 4 pm at Learning Loft Center, 350 Tompkins Ave(between Madison and Monroe) to help galvanize the community for a new open space. Join them! It's going to be an uphill battle to get this land for a community use in the face of the threat of privatization via the Mayor's Housing Plan - but it will be gorgeous if it works! 

Long Island City, Queens - Help create an ambitious new vision for the old Montauk Cutoff spurin LIC! Community stakeholders are meeting as the newly-formed "Cut Off Coalition" on Wednesday, December 2 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm to continue planning adaptive reuse of the Montauk Cutoff rails. This is a follow-up to a meeting earlier in November (see notes here). New folks are welcome! This event is on facebook here.
 
LOTS WITH ACCESS
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - The 462 Halsey Community Garden GrowNYC Fresh Food Box is moving inside for the winter. Starting Tuesday, December 1 the Food Box will be at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, 228 Decatur at Lewis Ave., from 4:30pm - 7:30pm. For $12 the Fresh Food Box provides around $30 of fresh, affordable food to the neighborhood. Sign-ups happen on a weekly basis, join anytime! For more info or to find out about getting the Fresh Food Box program into your community, click here. 

COLLABORATORS
The New York City Community Gardens Coalition is hosting a design competition: click here to find out how you can win $500 for the winning Gardens Rising logo!

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
We maintain a list of micro grants and resources that can help you make your project a reality AFTER you have access to your lot. Have you received a grant or resources for your community project because you read about them here? Tell us about it! Groups working on lots that 596 Acres helped them access have already raised over $200,000 for their growing spaces. Shoot us an email at organizers@596acres.org and let us know! A volunteer to update this list would also be great! Is that you?

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 

We added the 596 Acres Story Map to our Etsy shop. And also, we’re selling it live on Friday, December 18, 8:30 am - 7pm in the lobby of our building in the 596 Acres Pop Up Gift Shop, 540 President Street, Brooklyn, NY.

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

News from the Acres - November 20, 2015

20 November 2015

It's not about beautification, it's about participation.

The Roger That! Garden and Eldert Street Garden are not getting evicted! Both cases were discontinued in response to gardeners' motions. Check out Gothamist's great summary of three of 596 Acres' eviction prevention efforts on behalf of Brooklyn communities (including a win for the Maple Street Community Garden).

596 ACRES IS YOU: DONATE HERE. We are $14,2500 of the way to the $40,000 we need to raise by December 1 so we can hire a Community Land Access Program Manager for 2016 and keep supporting grassroots neighborhood development in the New Year. 

And we’re on Etsy!
Buy some of our handmade goodies for the one you love: https://www.etsy.com/shop/596Acres

NEWS FROM THE ORGANIZING ACRES
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn - Join the organizers focused on 463 Tompkins on Tuesday, November 24th at 4 pm at Learning Loft Center, 350 Tompkins Ave (between Madison and Monroe) to help galvanize the community for a new open space.

Brownsville, Brooklyn - Join Dierell in his vision to transform the lot at 743 Blake Avenue in East New York into the Eden Learning Center. Dierell has put a lot of effort into this campaign and could use some support. Read his letter about the once-and-future garden here, then give him a call: 347-863-8694!

Bushwick/Bed-Stuy Border, Brooklyn - Jasmine is drafting a proposal to send to HPD to gain access to this lot near Myrtle and Dekalb! Send her an email to get involved,jazcamillenyc@hotmail.com.

East New York, Brooklyn - Chris is designing the landscape for the lot on 162 Glenmore. Here needs a designer to make it pretty for the proposal to NYCHA to give us access to this lot. Reach out to him at citrus0345@gmail.com, 718-708-3762.

Bushwick, Brooklyn - After our successful intervention last June bringing the potential auction of public land in Bushwick to private developers to the attention of residents, elected officials and the Community Board, GreenThumb is encouraging the community to start organizing the lot at 9 Moffatt Street in Brooklyn to get it transferred to the Parks Department and turn it into the garden. Who wants to jump on this awesome opportunity? This land remains ours, but only if we care for it!

Prospect-Lefferts, Brooklyn - Join the Maple Street Community Garden in a letter-writing campaign to save the garden! They are writing to New York State Senators and Assemblymembers to urge them to move the bills introduced by Senator Jesse Hamilton andAssemblymember Diana Richardson out of committees and to the floor where they can be voted on quickly. Neighbors will meet on Sunday, November 22 in the afternoon. Call or email Tom LaFarge ((917) 400-2187 or tomlafarge@gmail.com) or check the garden's facebook page for more details. 

Citywide - #hpdlist gardens from across the City gathered at the Brooklyn Museum this Tuesday to protest a real estate summit held there, bringing very real threats of community to be replaced by development (click to see 2 of the 21 garden-specific signs 596 Acres provided). 18 NYC gardens remain at risk of turning into expensive apartments ("affordable" units that can actually cost up to $3200 per month). You can read more about the situation in Brooklyn Deep.
 
LOTS WITH ACCESS
Harlem, Manhattan - Mandala Garden is DEPAVING this Saturday, November 21, 10am-sunset at West 126th Street and Frederick Douglas Blvd. Literally, removing the pavement to replace it with flowers. RSVP: René Calvo (917) 275-6577 or renecalvo@gmail.com).

COLLABORATORS
Plant trees with the Parks Department in Cypress Hills! Come out on November 24th, 9am-1pm, Jamaica Avenue and Elton Street. For more info or questions, contact Leslie McIntyre, 347.971.0848, leslie.mcintyre@parks.nyc.gov.

GREEN FOR YOUR GREEN
Project Orange Thumb is now accepting applications for their 2016 grant cycle. They fund communities who need tools and resources to help reach their goals for neighborhood beautification, community collaboration and healthy, sustainable food sources.http://www2.fiskars.com/Community/Project-Orange-Thumb/ 

596 ACRES IS YOU: 
SUPPORT 596 ACRES' COMMUNITY LAND ACCESS FOR NEW YORKERS. DONATE HERE. 

yours,
Paula, for 596 Acres

Community Boards in 2015!

16 November 2015

In 2015, 596 Acres continued its crucial outreach project to city community boards, teaching critical skills and raising awareness about their role in expanding public access to vacant properties. Thanks to a grant from the New York Community Trust, 596 Acres was able to meet multiple times with seven community boards, paying particular attention to those with the most vacant, public land. We shared our district-specific vacant property maps and our New York City Advocate’s Guide to Land Access, introduced community board members to the neighbors spearheading projects in their districts, and worked with board members and residents to improve communication around local public space initiatives. 

bronx 12 photo.JPG

Bronx Community Board 12; photo by Paula Z. Segal for 596 Acres.

We brought vital information about the threat that a new Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) infill program launched in 2015 posed to existing gardens and the key ecosystem services they provide. We also informed community boards that, as of February 2015, HPD has ceased issuing interim use licenses for lots in its jurisdiction, reserving all land for prospective housing development, no matter the local conditions or the appropriateness of particular parcels being used for housing. 

HPD had not, we learned from our conversations with Board members, informed these community boards about how their new programs would impact their neighborhoods. 596 Acres providing current information about the city’s plans for public land in the districts was a key to having district planning boards know about the plans. Having information about upstream changes in City land disposition strategies meant that community boards could engage effectively. In Brooklyn Community District 5, for example, where HPD has suddenly stalled the licensing 743 Blake Street through the Parks Department GreenThumb program after a two-year neighborhood organizing campaign, we recommended that the district’s Parks Committee take the cause to HPD directly – part of our larger strategy to engage community boards in more public space advocacy to elected officials and City agencies. 

We also found that community boards were hampered by general misconceptions about city land-use. Some boards did not understand that HPD deeds properties to developers but does not actually construct housing; thus when HPD would tell them that plans were in place [to seek out a developer to construct housing] for a property, board members interpreted it to mean that development was imminent and thus their vision for a community project was unattainable. When in reality, HPD had neither a developer nor a construction timeline, and a variety of futures were still possible. The pivotal role that 596 Acres played in educating community boards is clear.

596 Acres’ core organizing platform remained the powerful center of many of the community board meetings. In all seven community districts whose boards we revisited since 2014 – five repeats and two additions in 2015 – residents began working with us to improve their neighborhoods. 

At a Bronx Community Board 4 Parks Committee meeting, one neighbor approached 596 Acres for help addressing a lot next to his business at East 150th Street and Grand Concourse, an eyesore that attracts rodents, trash, and drug dealers; meanwhile, a board committee member raised ideas about a long-vacant property just west of the Macombs Dam Bridge, near Yankee Stadium. We immediately started working with both these residents on their land access puzzles, and connected them to more neighbors who would strengthen their causes. 

At subsequent 596 Acres General Meetings, residents like these shared numerous stories of the energetic efforts that our community board meetings had galvanized across the city.

Bronx Community District 1 (print map here)
In the South Bronx, there are 12 acres of vacant public land (click for an interactive map)! Here is one parcel that is very close to being community controlled: http://livinglotsnyc.org/lot/6000020001/

Bronx Community District 3 (print map here)
In the South-Central Bronx, there are 3 acres of vacant public land (click for an interactive map)!

Bronx Community District 4 (print map here)
In Mt. Eden, Highbridge, West and East Concourse, there are 3 acres of vacant public land (click for an interactive map).

Bronx Community District 12 (print map here)
In
Baychester, Eastchester, and Woodlawn, there is 1 acre of vacant public land (click for an interactive map).

Brooklyn Community District 5 (print map here)
There are 36 acres of vacant public land in East New York and Cypress Hills (click for an interactive map); 596 Acres has already facilitated five new community projects in Community District 5 with local community-based organizations at their helms.

Brooklyn Community District 16 (print map here)
There are 24 acres of vacant public land in Brownsville and Ocean Hill (click for an interactive map); 596 Acres has facilitated two fantastic project here.

Queens Community District 14 (print map here)
There are 153 acres of vacant public land in Rockaway (click for an interactive map); Beach 45th Street Farm is thriving and catalyzing neighbors to organize.

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Brooklyn Community Board 5; photo by Mary Elizabeth Prall for 596 Aces.