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Intern With Us: Spring 2015

25 February 2015


596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, March 31 - June 4, 2015. 

Your tasks will include putting up signs on vacant lots, helping us transition our online tools and generally helping us improve the work that we do with focus on the New York City Community Land Access program. Here's an unsolicited review from a former intern (now our NYC Organizer). 

This Spring we will be updating our Spanish-language materials; we are looking for an intern who is biligual and proficient at written translation.

This is an unpaid internship, though we would love it if someone else was paying you! In the past, we have worked with the East New York Farms! Externship program (that intern's reflection is here). 

You will be working out of our office at Spaceworks (540 President Street) in Gowanus, Brooklyn on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can make your own hours and there will be opportunities for field work or research on the weekends and in the evenings.

Comfort with navigation in parts of NYC you have never visited (even if you've been nearly everywhere) is key. Willingness to talk to strangers and learn how to do tasks on the computer are equally important. 

Please send a resume and a letter of interest. Include a picture of a place your neighborhood where participation by people who live or work close by could help make it better. 

Application due by 5:59p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2014, to with the subject 'Spring 2015 Intern Application.'

Intern Needed: Urban Reviewer at the Queens Museum of Art

17 November 2014

596 Acres is looking for an intern to help program and staff the Urban Reviewer at the Queens Museum of Art. We are going to present all of the urban renewal plans that the City has ever adopted in an intervention directly on the Panorama of the City of New York, Jan 11 to February 8. 

An intern for this project will begin on December 1 and run through February 8 (10 weeks) for 10 hours per week. Hours are flexible. The intern will help prepare exhibition materials, coordinate the event series and staff events at the museum. You should be able to joyfully arrive at the Queens Museum on most weekend days during the run of the show (it's far away from most things in an interesting place - check it out).

For background on the Urban Reviewer look here:

Applications will be accepted until Wednesday, November 26 at 5pm. Send your resume and a short letter describing why you want to work on this project to

Intern With Us: Fall 2014!

06 August 2014

596 Acres is seeking an intern who can work with us 10 hours per week for 10 weeks, September 2 - November 6, 2014. 

Your tasks will include tabling at fun events like the GreenThumb Harvest Festival (September 13) and Fresh Kills Park Sneak Peak (September 28), putting up signs on vacant lots, helping with follow-up and transcription from the April 22-23 Vacant Acres Symposium, and helping us with our second-ever gala fundraiser (Mapping Matters on October 2 at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO) and generally helping us improve the work that we do. Here's an unsolicited review from a former intern (now our NYC Organizer). 

This is an unpaid internship. You will be working out of our office at BuildItGreen!NYC in Gowanus, Brooklyn on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can make your own hours and there will be opportunities for field work or research on the weekends and in the evenings.

Comfort with navigation in parts of NYC you have never visited (even if you've been nearly everywhere) is key. Willingness to talk to strangers and learn how to do tasks on the computer are equally important. 

Please send a resume and a letter of interest. Include a picture of a place your neighborhood where participation by people who live or work close by could help make it better. 

Application due by 11:59p.m. on Sunday, August 17, 2014, to with the subject 'Fall 2014 Intern Application.'

GIS Mapping Help Needed

01 November 2013

As a watchdog for the disposition of public land, 596 Acres is being vigilant about the city Acquisition for Redevelopment program that is about to start adding formerly private property in neighborhoods affected by Superstorm Sandy to the city inventory (the largest such addition since the tax foreclosures of the 1970-80s and slum clearance of earlier decades). We are acting as the convener of a city-wide coalition of advocates working on turning this into a great opportunity for these neighborhoods and a means for the displaced to come home.

To support this work, we need a volunteer to make a GIS map that shows the areas impacted. Specifically, the coalition of community groups we are working with would like a map that shows three variables:

1. the most recent FEMA Preliminary Working Maps (recently released, no longer Advisory)

2. demographic information (low/moderate income) and 

3. the storm surge line. 

A different map for each borough might make sense. 


FEMA Preliminary Working Maps are available in three formats here (KML, Arc GIS and Web Map Service). I'm not sure what the date of release is but it is surely the most current. 

If this is you, email


Short Term Project Interns Needed October-December 2013

21 October 2013

596 Acres, New York City's community land access advocacy organization, is looking for several (more) short-term interns this fall who can work 5 hours per week for approximately 6 weeks.  Your main task will be working with our Research Fellow to enter city data into spreadsheets for a project that will analyze the past and present impacts of city-led urban renewal plans

This is an unpaid internship.  You will participate in a short overview/orientation session at our downtown studio office and then work on data-entry in the office of Housing Preservation and Development near City Hall for approximately five 4-5 hour research sessions over the course of 6 weeks (preferably Thursday or Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm). You wil need your own computer for this information liberation mission. 

Please send a short cover note and your resume to as soon as possible to apply. We'd love to hear about your favorite data project! 

We're Hiring an NYC Community Land Access Program Organizer!

21 June 2013

Applications are currently being reviewed. Thank you to all who applied.

Here's what they'll do:

Land Access Advocacy Organizing:

  • Support the organizing efforts of local land access advocates around NYC

  • Prepare signs for labeling vacant lots across NYC; manage volunteers

  • Hang signs on fences of vacant lots, city-wide; manage volunteers

  • Facilitate group meetings and monthly general meetings

  • Stay current on process of application for license and leases through relevant city agencies for community use

  • Liaise with city agencies and intervene in direct community outreach when needed

  • Maintain our email oriented database with extreme attention to detail

  • Process and respond to new intake within 24 hours

  • Develop print and web materials as needed


  • Lead workshops for various community based organizations and neighborhood groups

  • Table for 596 Acres at community events

  • Support and initiate relationship-building and cultivate meaningful collaborations with community leaders, local politicians, and community-based organizations

  • Represent the organization with local and state government officials, in the media, and with private organizations

Program Management

  • Coordinate, collaborate, and strategize in tandem with Executive Director.

  • Edit and contribute to weekly News From the Acres

  • Work closely with 596 Acres advisory committee, both as a staff support and strategic partner.

  • Support development of organization’s programmatic work plan.

  • Work with the Executive Director, governance board, staff and members to develop and evaluate organizing strategies.

  • Generate new program ideas and work with staff and board to implement and carry out programming related to the organization’s priorities.

  • Foster a team-oriented, supportive, accountable work environment at 596 Acres.


Here's what we're looking for in an applicant:

  • Extreme comfort with email and filing.

  • Ability to lift 15 pound pieces of wood for sign making

  • Comfort with responding to email immediately within regular working hours

  • Comfort with flexible organizing schedule to accommodate community event needs

  • Willingness to commute throughout the five boroughs.

  • Familiarity with City Government Processes (and willingness to learn more about it!)

  • Experience in and commitment to bottom-up organizing, grassroots leadership, and collective decision-making.

  • Demonstrated ability to work in multi-racial, multi-lingual settings.


Compensation will be $24,000 per year. If the applicant wishes, we can provide benefits and a slightly reduced salary. The position requires a 25 hour per week commitment.



Teach. Imagine. Grow.

A land access advocacy curriculum and educational tool by 596 Acres.

596 Acres is a public education project aimed at making communities aware of the land resources around them. With the twin goals of food sovereign cites and community self-determination, 596 Acres is helping neighbors form connections to the vacant lots in their lives. New York City has a paucity of green space per person and the constant refrain is that there is not enough space here for all the awesome ideas that people have for how to green their neighborhoods and get to know their neighbors. It turns out the space is all around us—especially concentrated in neighborhoods that need it most. 596 Acres is working to connect communities to the information they need to gain control of their environments.

Teaching about Vacancies: Help others find the lot in their life!

Do you want to help young people imagine the future of their community? Want to grow something new on a vacant lot? This tool is for you! The activities presented in the following pages are matched to NY State Learning Standards designed for students ages 6 and up, but the basics of each activity can be used with students of all ages and in any learning environment. The curriculum presents three important ways to organize around land: brainstorming vacant lots, identifying strengths among friends/community, and making fliers. Feel free to use or adapt this curriculum anywhere for anyone—in the classroom, in the garden, as part of after school programs, community-based education, or anywhere else!

Tell us how YOU teach about vacancies.

We’d love to know how you teach about vacancies and what ideas you have for adapting our activities so we can share your amazing teaching and curriculum ideas with our 596 Acres community. Did you teach the activities in this curriculum as part of a lesson plan? Do you have sample student work from these activities that you would like to share with others? Do you already teach youth to get involved in their communities by transforming their environment? Share your stories and ideas with us:

Thanks for exploring our curriculum materials!

Be sure to visit us at where you can view our map of vacant land in NYC, watch a lot, start organizing, find helpful resources, or connect with neighbors and organizations already working to get land access.

Join us: Apply to be an Organizing Fellow in Your Borough!

25 February 2013

596 Acres is proud to announce three Organizing Fellow positions for Spring 2013, one each for the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

To apply, please send a cover letter and your resume to by 11:59pm on Sunday, March 31, 2013. Include a short story about a challenge you have encountered organizing within your community in the body of your letter. Please use the subject “Bronx Organizing Fellow” / “Brooklyn Organizing Fellow” / “Manhattan Organizing Fellow” for your email.

Positions will run April 15 - August 15, 2013; fellows will receive a stipend of $500 per month ($2000 for the entire fellowship) and will be asked to commit at least 40 hours per month.

Fellowship Duties and Responsibilities

  • Respond to inquiries about vacant lots in your borough and help communities structure their land access campaigns using 596 Acres resources, as well as OASIS, Acris and other databases.
  • Keep accurate notes about communities’ experiences with government entities.
  • Communicate with organizers in your borough by phone, email and in person.
  • Conduct popular education “Land Use Visioning Sessions” when requested in your borough.
  • Develop and maintain dialogue and relationships with community leaders, political entities, governmental agencies in order to create more garden spaces.
  • Co-develop and organize database of community leaders and stakeholders for multiple sites.
  • Assist in turning maps and broadsheets into signs that can be posted on vacant lots.
  • Manage volunteers for sign posting.
  • Act as a direct liaison, when necessary, with city agencies and community boards.
  • Check email at least every other day.
  • Meet twice a month with other fellows and facilitators to discuss
    • ongoing organizing efforts
    • strategies for approaching communities &
    • to problem solve city agency interactions.

Recommended Qualifications
  • General knowledge of community gardens, their history and city and state governmental structures that directly affect them.
  • Understanding politics of land access, politics around vacancy, land usage, and development in the borough where you will be working.
  • Ability to operate well in a collective-type organizational and decision-making structure.
  • Ability to speak Spanish, and present comfortably in both Spanish and English.
  • General knowledge of borough geography and neighborhoods/community boards.
  • Knowledge of OASIS, ACRIS and other city databases, maps and research tools
  • Understanding of gardening basics, and familiarity with resources available to gardeners
  • Experience in grassroots community organizing and/or founding, running, or working in a community garden are all a plus!
  • Available most weekends during fellowship.

Seeking a Journalism Student to Do Some Structured Reporting About 596 Acres Sites

22 October 2012

596 Acres engages with all sorts of communities all over the city. We are looking for help telling the story of our advocacy support from the communitiies' perspectives. We would like to partner with a jounalism student who can make a 6-12 month commitment to doing a set of structured interviews with the folks that we work with. We will publish your work on our website (occasionally with a by line if you like) and use it in our press releases and reporting materials.

You will be contacting groups that engage with the 596 Acres team 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and one year after their engagement begins. We'll work together to develop a protocol. 

To apply, send a sample of your work, a cover letter, and a short story about small scale change to by 11:59pm on Saturday, November 4, 2012. 


09 October 2012


596 Acres is making a new poster for the Bronx this Fall!!! 

We're looking for a designer to design the map (which will be printed in English & Spanish with our organizing guide on the back).

We will pay an honorarium of $100. Designs will be completed by December 1, so we are looking for folks who have time to devote in November.

Please submit three samples of relevant work and a short statement about your connection to the Bronx to by 11:59p.m. on FRIDAY, October 26, 2012 to We'll get back to you within the week. 


Development Assistance Needed

17 September 2012

We are looking for someone to help us manage and execute the task of looking for foundation funding. We are a little out of our depth here and would love to work with someone who has a bit more experience, and a bit more of a track record than we do. (You can see our current funders here.) 

If you are a development professional who wants to really make an impact on New York City, we want to talk to you. We would love it if you would volunteer and will certainly consider paying a percentage of any grants monies recieved through your efforts as a fee. 


596 Acres Needs an Online Design Intern

25 August 2012

596 Acres is looking for an intern with online user experience and graphic design skills.

You will help design and create prototypes for some exciting functional changes to our existing tools and entirely new sections of our site. Preferrably in addition to graphic and user experience skills you have some knowledge of HTML and CSS, an interest in maps, and are excited about 596 Acres.

This is an unpaid internship but we can work with your school for class credit.

Please send a resume, a letter of interest, and an example of something online you have designed by 11:59pm on Saturday, September 8, 2012 to 

Wanted: Researcher to Document Outcomes from 596 Acres Project

13 June 2012

We are looking for a researcher in sociology. public health, epidemiology, or geography who will be able to use the tools of their field to document the affects of 596 Acres' work on communities. While we will not be able to supervise the technical part of your work, we will help you structure it, reach out to organizers and neighbors, and distribute your findings. We are looking for someone whose educational or professional work requires scientific fieldwork. We want to provide the field! 

We are also really excited about the study below and would like to show that the outcomes found in Philadelphia are happening in New York, too, at least in part due to our work.

C. C. Branas, R. A. Cheney, J. M. MacDonald, V. W. Tam, T. D. Jackson, T. R. Ten Have. A Difference-in-Differences Analysis of Health, Safety, and Greening Vacant Urban SpaceAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, 2011; (reported by Science Daily).


28 April 2012

596 Acres is working with the Foundation for Responsible and Open Government to solve some mysteries on the map of the city using Freedom of Information Law. Here are some volunteer positions at FROG for this summer for folks who want to dig into this work. Are you a law student that wants to help 596 Acres out? This is the perfect way to do it. 


These volunteer positions are designed to be manageable in conjunction with full-time work. Over the summer, they are equally ideal for law students with summer internships in New York City. There is no funding available for these positions but we are happy to work with applicants and their educational institutions when possible to arrange for appropriate credit.

The work on these projects involves drafting targeted freedom of information requests to various government agencies, administrative appeals of denials and tardy responses, and pre-litigation memos where appropriate. This work offers practical experience in drafting and administrative law as well as opportunity to become familiar with the power and limitations of freedom of information requests.

We hope that FROG volunteers will make a 10-week commitment to these projects. There will be an opportunity to continue work beyond the summer if a particular project leads to litigation and the volunteer is interested. All work will be supervised by an attorney.

FROG will have summer office hours on Monday evenings from 6pm – 8:30pm. Although most of the work can be done remotely, we hope that we will see you in the office at least 4 times during the summer. The training for FROG interns will take place on Monday, May 21 and June 4. You will be required to attend one of these trainings.

TO APPLY: Please send a letter of interest and a short writing sample by 5pm on Friday, May 11, 2012. Please let us know which of the projects below interests you most.

Hart Island Specialist
The Hart Island specialist will be continuing FROG’s long campaign seeking transparency in the NYC Department of Corrections’ operating of the City’s Potter’s field cemetery on Hart Island. There will be some client interaction, primarily with a historian involved in studying the island.

NYPD “Cold Pavement” Project
This volunteer will work on FOIL requests related to homelessness in New York and the NYPD’s handling of the homeless, particularly around the enforcement of City Administrative Code Section 16-122(b). We are specifically asking for documents related to the NYPD’s Quality of Life Enforcement policies.

NYC Squatter History Project (two volunteers needed)
Project involves procuring documentation of official interactions with buildings organized as squats in the Lower East Side in the 1980’s and ‘90’s. A multi-agency effort spanning several decades of activism. Client interaction with former squatters.

“Right to Record”
A national campaign cataloging and publishing Police Department procedures and practices for stopping civilians from being able to record Police activity. Emphasis on both ‘reasonable’ best practices and unconstitutional policies designed to stop civilian oversight of police activity.

NYPD Public Assembly Specialist
Investigating the NYPD and NYC Park’s Department’’s permitting and policing practices in regards to public assemblies and political events. Additional emphasis on quasi-governmental agencies and restricted access.

New York City “Commons” Specialist
Support the work of public space advocates. You will support the work of 596 Acres by finding out the history of unused properties being warehoused by various city agencies (e.g the NYPD’s phantom parking lot in Bushwick) and gather information about the specific floor area and other bonuses obtained by private landowners in exchange for the construction of Privately Owned Public Spaces for an interactive map of public space under construction by #whOWNSpace. (You can read about the value these “public” spaces add to private property here.)


26 April 2012

596 Acres wants to make our tools available to Spanish-speakers in New York City. But we're handicapped -- none of us speak or write in Spanish very well. We are looking for a Spanish writer/ copy-editor to translate our Frequently Asked Questions page, the information on the "You've Found the Lot in Your Life" organizing guide, and the database field labels that drive our interactive map (which will make a Spanish map happen as though by magic!).

We pay $15. per hour and think this this work will take about 10 hours. 

Please submit a resume and/or Spanish-language clippings and a short statement about why you want to work with 596 Acres by 11:59p.m. on Saturday, May 5, 2012 to We'll get back to you within the week. 

Green Space Warriors United

23 January 2012

Thank you to everyone who came out last night. So great to meet so many of you in person, even better to watch you meet each other. We are brewing an awesome concoction for spring!

Next Meeting: Sunday, February 12 at 5pm. 

Location TBD. Pie flavors will be unknown until arrival.

On the agenda:maps for all 5 boroughs, tools for groundtruthing, who needs fences?, national day of action for empty lots #F27, a seed saving library & whatever you want to talk about.

We also decided that we will start sending out a regular Friday email blast with news from the Acres and anyone else in our community with news to share. Got news? Send it to by Wednesday at 8pm. Want to make sure you are getting all the news? Sign up for the newsletter!

Request A Vacant Public Land Visioning Session for Your Community

14 December 2011

Vacant Public Land Visioning Session is a workshop during which we explain what we know about the city's land use and real estate warehousing practices, as well as present the map tools at We talk about where we got our data, what city agencies are involved in land ownership and share success stories of communities gaining access to previously warehoused and close-off parcels of NYC public land. (See,,, -- these are our 4 success stories from this summer's pilot project. Each one started by sharing information - via signage - about the municipal owners of the land with the local community.)

Then we tap into the resources in the room to talk together about how our tools can best serve the needs of those there. This often leads to us together using the map to identify lots that are in neighborhoods where participants live and work that we think would be good ones to target for transformation to community green space; we then empower those there to become stewards of the process of building community coalitions around those spaces -- and send them home with signs to hang on the fences of those lots (and zip ties).

This workshop is available for your community. We will come and spend 2 hours with your group, talking about land. You provide the group, the location, some snacks and ideally a projector. Contact us to request a workshop.

Community-Based Strategic Planning: Visioning Session Part 2 September 8

28 August 2011

Visioning session (with seedbombs to give away from IOBY!): Thursday, September 8 at 7pm at Gowanus Studio Space, 166 7th Street, Brooklyn NY. With pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds (yummmm!).

INSERT_____ HERE collaboration with 596 Acres

18 August 2011

INSERT _____ HERE is a great project that is collaborating with 596 Acres to identify sites where communities are working to improve the environment in Brooklyn. The folks from INSERT____HERE will be hanging arrows on lots to identify sites of potential between September 15 and 17. Got a lot that needs an arrow? Want to help hang signs?
Send a email to