Eldert Street Garden sign

Since 2011, we have supported New Yorkers who transformed 37 vacant lots into community spaces and successfully advocated for 53 community spaces to gain permanent protections. Through our efforts together, 39 community spaces were permanently preserved in 2016 alone! In a city facing rapacious, profit-driven development, we help regular New Yorkers make space for community by supporting local land access advocates organize in our neighborhoods, in the courtroom, and at at City Hall.

Staten Island – Rita has gathered ten neighbors to take care of the community space they are planning for the abandoned public lot and building at 187 Wiman Ave between Sweetwater and Tennyson on the South Shore. They are planning to up-cycle the vacant building. She is contacting SI community board 3 and Council Member Ignizio to get them on board. They are putting together their project proposal now, and we can’t wait to see it. Join her! Contact, (718) 866-8126. And sign up to Organize here:

Brownsville, Brooklyn – The fight to save Green Valley Community Garden and Farmer’s Market at New Lots and Sackman Street, again, is picking up speed! SIGN THIS PETITION HERE RIGHT NOW TO HELP! The Mayor’s Office announced the garden was permanently preserved on December 29, 2015 (see the memo here). But now, gardeners have been told they are “encroaching” and that they need to get off the land so the city can sell it to a private developer to build housing (read about it here). Residents are fighting again to keep their community farm and its grand greenhouse, which have been supplying and selling fresh, local, healthy produce to Brownsville residents for 20 years. Read letters of support from residents and local and citywide organizations are pouring in. Read them, download a letter you or your organization can send to the Mayor, print petitions you can get signed, see photos, and sign up to Organize for updates here:

East New York, Brooklyn – On December 7 at 10am at 1 Centre Street in Manhattan, local organizers plan to attend the final disposition hearing for vacant public lots on Hinsdale Street between Sutter and Blake that, after decades of abandonment, the city is now planning to sell for $1 each to private developers to build “workforce housing” as part of the Mayor’s housing plan. Units will be marketed to people who make twice and a-little-more-than-three-times what average people in the neighborhood make. Since the income requirements are higher than would help most current residents, Auradis of local nonprofit B.R.O.K.E Youth, who grew up next to these abandoned lots and has been planning a community garden, wants to make sure they serve the public by staying public. Who will come with her to the hearing? Email her: or call (516) 582-1460; sign up to Organize here:

Weeksville, Brooklyn – Last Tuesday, local youth who work with nonprofit D.U.E.C.E.S. presented their beautiful vision to transform a vacant public lot at 45 Somers into a community garden for making music and art, studying science, and learning to grow food, at the Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 16 (photo here). The Committee’s warm reception of their detailed plan to develop their own neighborhood was fantastic and promising. Next steps: finish the GreenThumb proposal, present the plan to the full Community Board, get a letter of support, and make the open space that the city planned via urban renewal in 1992 real through grassroots youth organizing. Get involved! C. Aaron –, (347) 589-7583; sign up to Organize:

Citywide – Next Thursday, December 1 at 1pm at City Hall, join community land access advocates in our network who are testifying at City Council’s Oversight Hearing called “An Examination of Parks Department Properties Currently Inaccessible to the Public.” In Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, neighbors have been organizing to for years to gain access to land already in the inventory of NYC Parks to create gardens, meditation labyrinthsand more. Email or call us at 718-316-6092 ext 3 to let us know you are coming and if you want help preparing your testimony!

Southside Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Next Thursday, December 1 at 7pm, the Gardeners of Hooper Street Park invite you to a Public Visioning Session for the new Community Garden at South 5th Street and Hooper Street! El próximo jueves, 1 Diciembre 2016 a 7pm, los Jardineros de Hooper Street Park lo invitan a la reunión de Planificación Pública para el nuevo Jardín Comunitario ubicado en la calle Hooper y Sur 5! At Nuestros Niños, 384 South 4th Street between/entre Hooper and Hewes Street. Co-Sponsored by/Co-auspiciado por: El Puente Green Light, Nuestros Niños, y 596 Acres. Event information here. Email, call (718) 387-0404 ext 45 (se habla español) for more info, and sign up to Organize here:

Long Island City, Queens – This Sunday, November 27 from 12pm to 3pm, go to Smiling Hogshead Ranch at 25-30 Skillman Ave to help build a tire retaining wall/foundation for our a future greenhouse! The crew will also be working from 11 to 3pm, unless otherwise noted, onMonday, November 28 and December 1, 4, 5, 8, 11 and 12. Join them at these skillshares! Event information here.

The powerful advocacy of Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park and Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn has paid off! Yesterday, the City acquired the last parcel of land needed for the full 27-acre park long promised to the community! Read more here.

The NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and Citizens Committee are collaborating once again to award Active Design Grants: Funding for Schools grants up to $4,000 for K-12 public schools and up to $2,500 for preschool and child care centers. The goal of this Active Design award is to support projects that promote physical activity and healthy living among children and staff in schools and early childhood settings, as well as the surrounding community. Sounds like a great grant for a garden that partners with a local school! Applications are dueMonday, December 12, 2016. To learn more and to apply, visit their website here.

Citizens Committee awards Neighborhood Grants, micro-grants of up to $3,000 to resident-led groups to work on community and school projects throughout the city, prioritizing groups based in low income neighborhoods and Title I public schools. They fund everything from arts programs to tenant organizing to community gardens. Check out past grantees to get inspiration and ideas; these grants are for non-staffed, volunteer led projects that address issues which communities deem important to them. Applications due January 23, 2017. More information here. Attend an info session near you! Find one near you on this flier.

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.

Statistics for NYC sales of vacant lots

NYC continues to sell our vacant lots for $1 each. All too often, these give-aways are to for-profit developers promising to create only temporary solutions. We analyzed the hard-to-access information about these dispositions, and 596 Acres intern Tiera Mack broke it down at our general meeting last Sunday. Our goal: bring the most affected New Yorkers into these discussions.

Our work is made possible by the hundreds of generous people who understand the power that New Yorkers have when equipped with information about how to participate in land use decisions affecting our lives: we can all create the city we dream of, the city we want to live in, and the lives we want to live, together. Help us build a strong and resilient city: DONATE HERE! Sustaining gifts come with a free book of your choice from the 596 Acres Shop—a great holiday present for the land lovers in your life—and the confidence that you are helping grow the field of Community Land Access Advocacy here and everywhere.

So thankful,
596 Acres

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