Members of NYCommons at a workshop last weekend on community influence over neighborhood development and affordable housing in Red Hook, Brooklyn

NYCommons, a collaboration of 596 Acres, the Urban Justice Center Community Development Project and Common Cause/NY, was part of a workshop last weekend on community influence over neighborhood development and affordable housing in Red Hook, Brooklyn (photo above and more photos here). The workshop was hosted by our neighborhood partner, the Red Hook Community Collective. This Saturday, October 1 from 11am to 3pm at Red Hook Public Library (Wolcott and Dwight Streets), we will talk about parkland and NYCHA campuses, as well as next steps for the Red Hook Community Collective. Red Hook residents should come if they want to join their neighbors in organizing.

On Friday, October 7 from 7pm to 9pm
at Patagonia (72 Greene Street, Manhattan), join 596 Acres, Sane Energy Project, and Green Map for We Are Here: How Radical Mapping Builds Community Power. We will celebrate the launch of Sane Energy’s You Are Here Map version 2.0 STORYMAP. 596 Acres and Green Map will join the discussion to highlight mapping as a tool for people-powered movements. Facebook event here. Event information here.

Earlier this month, NYC Council Members got clear on how little the City’s administration understands our public vacant land inventory, and how much worse a grasp it has on privately owned vacant spaces in our neighborhoods at the Housing Not Warehousing Act hearing. Now you can watch this powerful video of the hearing. The whole thing is worth watching; advocates from 596 Acres and our allies testify at the 2:31 mark. The three bills of this Act could be a game-changer by requiring transparency and accountability (read how here).

Just this morning, Paula Z. Segal of 596 Acres testified again at City Hall in support of people power over properties with deed restrictions placed on behalf of us New Yorkers. Read her testimony here.

Highbridge, Bronx – Today, Thursday, September 29 at 4pm at Bronx Community College, the Department of City Planning is having a hearing on the Jerome Avenue Plan (PDF of draft scope of work here) that includes the vacant public lot, already parkland but without access, that Dian is organizing to open to the public! This is a good opportunity to talk about this park, which the city seems committed to opening at last. Meet your neighbors there or contact Dian at or (929) 575-3438; sign up to Organize here:; and here:

Far Rockaway, Queens – Organizers want to keep the long-vacant public lot on the corner of Nameoke and Augustina Avenues public so it can serve the soon-to-be-upzoned community as a community garden and compost. CLICK HERE AND SIGN THEIR PETITION! This Monday, the group painted signs for the fence and worked on the proposal including a draft plan for the garden and a mission statement. Plug in: connect with Allison: (718) 749-8830 or; learn more, read and share letters of support, and sign up to Organize here:

Edgemere, Queens – When we traveled to Edgemere last weekend to participate in HPD’s planning process, we met local organizers who joined the campaign to transform this giant lot on Beach 43rd Street into a needed space for growing fresh food and gathering. As we hung up signs, young neighbors stopped by: “If we had a farm here, I would come every day!” The localNYS Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder and NYC Council Member Donovan Richards support the idea too (click here and here to read their letters). These new organizers are going to meet with the Edgemere Coalition and other longtime organizers to work together on their proposal. Find out when they will be meeting: contact Lexy at or (347) 608-3556, and sign up to Organize here:

Crown Heights, Brooklyn – Your neighbors are organizing to transform a former Lots for Tots space on Prospect Place near Albany Avenue into a community garden. Next Tuesday, October 4 at 6pm, they are going to Brooklyn Community Board 8’s Parks and Recreation Committee Meeting at St. John’s Recreation Center, 1251 Prospect Place between Troy & Schenectady Avenues, with the pages of signatures they have collected. Meet them there and hear the pitch, or contact Mandy to get involved: or (513) 317-4457; and sign up to Organize here:

Weeksville, Brooklyn – Longtime community gardeners imagined the future of the vacant lot at 45 Somers near Rockaway Ave last weekend. Photo here. How can it bring new services to the community, like outdoor exercise space and film nights? The next meeting is planned for next Saturday, October 8 at 4:30pm in front of the lot. The group will discuss what to call the garden and how the tree-filled space can be used to meet everybody goals. Get in touch with young Brooklyn farmer Cyeann:, (917) 202-1977 and sign up to Organize here to stay in the loop:

Cromwell, Staten Island – Our local partners from our pilot NYCommons workshops in Staten Island this spring have shared their desire for a soccer field on a vacant public DCAS lot on the water at Front Street through the NYC Council’s Participatory Budgeting interactive website,here. Get in touch with your neighbors and add your dream projects for our underused public assets to the NYC Council’s budget map here. Contact us to connect and get help organizing your campaign! The city is rezoning Bay Street; you can find out what they are planning and sign up to Organize here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – Join Healing for Black and African Diasporic Community this Sunday, October 2 from 2pm to 6pm at 462 Halsey Community Farm (Halsey and Lewis): With Third Root Community Health Center and Brooklyn Open Acupuncture, the Farm is hosting a healing space for Black and African Diasporic members of our community who are grieving, processing, ruminating. Free acupuncture, reiki, massage, acupressure, herbal medicine and of course, food and conversation. More information here. Healers interested in offering their services can sign uphere.

This Saturday, October 1 from 7pm to 9pm, NYC Compost Project and Brooklyn Botanic Garden are hosting SOIL! An evening with Dr. Elaine Ingham and friends. Learn about soil health! It’s free but there’s limited seating, so RSVP here. Event information here.

Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation has a special opportunity for paid internships available to young adults from the community – but act fast! Details and requirements here. Email by TODAY, Thursday, September 29 with your first and last name and phone number to save your spot and see if you are eligible.

East New York, Brooklyn – East New York Farms! Mini-grant program will fund local residents, organizations, and small business. Grants should be for projects that will increase access to healthy food in our community, and can be garden related or non-garden related, new projects or expanded projects. More information here. Application is here. Deadline: Tuesday, October 11.

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.

Conversation at Local Connected and Creative: New Approaches to Community Building, presented by BRIC

What do we mean when we say “the community”? Paula of 596 Acres and Bedstuy organizer Mishon were among fellow artists, organizers and innovators as part of a complex and enlivening conversation this Tuesday at Local Connected and Creative: New Approaches to Community Building, presented as part of BRIC’s Stoop Series. Thanks for the invitation!

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