Alexis Smallwood represents 596 Acres at the Hester Street Fair on Earth Day

ACT NOW TO CHANGE POLICY – Help Pass the Housing Not Warehousing Act!
More than half of our elected advocates in city council support the Housing Not Warehousing Act, a set of bills that will add transparency and accountability to vacant public and private property in our neighborhoods. More information here. It’s time to act! Here’s how.

Get Community Property out of the May 12 Tax Lien Sale! 
While our collective advocacy has helped New Yorkers protect dozens of community gardensmosqueschurches and more from the 2017 Department of Finance Tax Lien Sale (stories here), it just doesn’t feel like these one-offs are enough–242 nonprofit owned places are still on the list! We are losing our community institutions to private investors. Next Thursday, May 11 is the last day to fix the problem! Call (212) 788-1402 and say, “Please ask the mayor to take nonprofits out of this year’s lien sale!” Total moratorium. More information here.

South Bronx – Join Picture the Homeless and Banana Kelly this Thursday, May 4 at 12pm for a rally and community visioning session! The city-owned lot at 1390 Stebbins Avenue at East 170th Street has been abandoned since the 1980s. This action, in support of the Housing Not Warehousing Act, will highlight how warehoused public land can serve public good via the city partnering with residents and community groups to plan for and steward it. By mandating that the city keep records of our vacant properties, the Act will make opportunities to create the stable spaces we want and need more apparent! For more information, contact Ryan at Picture the Homeless: (646) 314-6423 or Sign up to Organize here for updates:

Highbridge, Bronx – Last Saturday (Earth Day!), neighbors continued planning for the future of two abandoned city-owned lots between West 169th and West 170th Street and Nelson and Shakespeare Aves (meeting photos here & here). The group is planning a community-stewarded green space for the lot on West 169th – Health and Wealth Garden! – and an NYC Parks-managed park for the lot on West 170th. Write a letter supporting Health and Wealth Garden with the template here! Their next meeting is next Saturday, May 6 at 1pm, 1314 Nelson Ave! Meeting flier here. Email, call Dian at (929) 575-3438, or Sabeena at (914) 263-2454 to plug in. More information and sign up to Organize here:

Far Rockaway, Queens – On Thursday morning, 596 Acres and community advocates testified at the Queens Borough President’s (BP’s) Public Land Use Hearing as part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (or ULURP, described here). Photo here and here! We asked the BP to recommend against the city’s plan to sell a long-abandoned Department of Sanitation lot at Nameoke and Augustina so it can become Far Rock Garden instead (see the community’s development plan here!). More planning and hearings coming up: plug in with Allison or (718) 749-8830 or Travis at or (646) 662-0585. Find out more and sign up to Organize here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – Join 462 Halsey Community Farm at Lewis today, Saturday, April 29 for the first big work day of the season! From 11am to 1pm, compost! From 12pm to 3pm, install a drip irrigation system. From 3pm to 5pm, spring planting – a great activity for all ages, including kids. No experience required, but a willingness to get a bit dirty is helpful. More information here.

Southside Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Keap Fourth Community Garden, at Keap and South 4th, is now open all day every day! Stop by.

Bushwick, Brooklyn – The nonprofit that gave gardeners permission to create Eldert Street Garden is making progress on working with the Charities Bureau of the NY Attorney General’s Office to investigate the illegal sale of the land! Save this court date, where we hope to hear the results: Wednesday, June 7. Get updates by signing up to Organize here.

COLLABORATORS – Stewards of North Brooklyn!
Neighbors Allied for Good Growth is hosting a free soil testing workshop next Saturday, May 6 from 10am to 2pm at GrowNYC McCarren Park Greenmarket (N 12th Street and Union Ave) focused on lead contamination in our city’s soils and how to avoid exposure (tips here). Bring a bag of your soil and get it tested for free: soil test collection advice here. Event info here596 Acres is part of NYC’s Legacy Lead Consortium! We recently launched pilot signs reminding New Yorkers that we are all remediators of a legacy of lead in our built environment, and sharing best practices for avoiding harm! More information and get signs here.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance next Saturday, May 6 from 11am to 3pm, at Penny Bridge (on Meeker Ave) for a public workday to improve environmental conditions and safety at street-ends on Newtown Creek. More information here.

Sign this petition to help Friends of WNYC Transmitter Park get NYC Parks to withdraw its Request for Proposals (RFP) for a bar cafe to reactivate the abandoned public building in their park! Over the past month, the group has been meeting with Parks to plan a botanical learning center surrounded by gardens featuring native species for this space, so they were surprised when Parks released this RFP last Thursday without any public discussion. Read more here and sign up to Organize for updates here.

Learn new gardening skills at upcoming GreenThumb workshops! Here’s the list.

Veggie transplants giveaway for NYC GreenThumb gardeners is today and tomorrow: Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30 from 10am to 12pm. Bronx pick up location: Melrose New Generation Community Garden at 377 East 160 Street (more info here). Brooklyn pick up location: UCC Youth Farm at 612 Schenck (more info here). There will be Square Foot Gardening demonstrations from 11am to 11:30am! If picking up for more than one garden, you must RSVP by calling (212) 602-5300.

Free compost in Bedstuy! New Yorkers for Responsible Waste Management is giving it away today, Saturday April 29 from 12pm to 4pm outside Hattie Carthan Community Garden, Marcy Avenue between Clifton Place and Lafayette Street. More information here.

Tree Giveaways with New York Restoration Project continue this weekend! Get a Tulip Poplar, Serviceberry, Black Tupelo and more – if you agree to plant it in one of the five boroughs and take care of it. Find a pick-up location and time that works for you here.

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.

Supporters of Maple Street Garden at the Community Board 9 meeting on April 27, 2017

Last Tuesday evening, Brooklyn Community Board 9 voted YES to NYC Parks’ proposal to acquire Maple Street Community Garden between Rogers and Nostrand in Prospect Lefferts Gardens! The ULURP process continues with the next public hearing this Wednesday, May 3, 6pm at Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams’ office, 209 Joralemon St. This is a great chance to thank Borough President Adams for allocating $750,000 for the city to acquire this precious community-made and -stewarded space! Read more here.


towards the sun,
596 Acres

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