Poster entitled Bronx, there is land if you want it

THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY – On Thursday, March 21, the 596 Acres’ interactive online map will begin providing information about vacant public land in the borough of the Bronx. 596 Acres will also begin distribution of print maps and signs for labeling lots throughout the borough in the coming weeks. Simultaneously, 596 Acres launches their website in Spanish!

More than eight million New Yorkers will have access to the tools they need to transform vacant lots into community space in their neighborhoods. Hundreds of acres of vacant public land exist in New York City, hidden in plain sight behind chain-link fences in neighborhoods where green space and other public amenities are scarce. 596 Acres has built an online organizing platform for communities to get the keys legally and unlock all these rusty gates—and the opportunities within them. According to the data compiled by 596 Acres, the Bronx has approximately 42 acres of vacant public land, laid out over 141 vacant lots.

“I’m glad that community-level interest, thought and planning around vacant space will be taken more seriously,” said Aazam Otero, a Bronx resident and public space advocate.

About 596 Acres
596 Acres has connected communities in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan with vacant public land resources through a combination of tactics:
(1) making municipal information available through an online interactive map,;
(2) placing signs on vacant public land that explain each lot’s status and steps that the community can take in order to be able to use this land,
(3) visioning sessions for education about public land holdings by invitation from community groups,
(4) engaging the community when an interested potential leader reaches out, and
(5) direct advocacy with New York City agencies. 596 Acres, a volunteer led project, has created countless opportunities for neighbors to come together and take control of their landscape, to learn which government agencies make decisions for their neighborhoods, and to talk to residents new and old.
There are more than 100 groups organizing around vacant public spaces in New York City. Eight of these groups have access to their lots and have transformed them into local landmarks and community spaces:
Siempre Verde (, Lower East Side, Manhattan
Patchen Community Square (, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn;
462 Halsey Community Gardens (, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn;
Java Street Garden Collaborative (, Greenpoint, Brooklyn;
A Small Green Patch (, Gowanus, Brooklyn;
Myrtle Village Green (, Northwest Bedford-Stuyvesant/Wallabout Village, Brooklyn;
100 Quincy Community Garden (, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; and
South Brooklyn Children’s Garden (, Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Each formerly vacant lot is being transformed—by volunteer neighbors—into open spaces for the community to gather, to grow food, and to play.
Upcoming Events
596 Acres will have events in the Bronx to envision how communities can best use this information and share their strategies developed in other boroughs with Bronx residents. They are also participating in the following events, where they will have free print maps of each borough’s data:
March 23rd, 11:30 am-1:00 pm, 500 Grand Concourse, Room 554, Bronx
GreenThumb Grow Together Conference panel: “There’s Land If You Want It: Creating New Projects On NYC’s Vacant Lots.” This panel will be simultaneously translated into Spanish.
March 30th, 10:30 am-11:45am, Food & Finance High School, 525 West 50th Street, Manhattan
Just Food Conference panel with the Philadelphia Garden Justice Legal Initiative: “Food For The People: Tactics To Claim Land And Increase Food Sovereignty.”
April 6th, 2pm-5pm, Far Rockaway Library, 1637 Central Ave, Queens
“Soul Food Junkies” Screening in Far Rockaway, starting with a 596 Acres organizing meeting.
April 14th 3pm-5pm, The Harlem Flophouse, 242 West 123rd, Manhattan
 596 Acres General Meeting: Manhattan. Come meet other folks organizing for control of public land around NYC and get some help and support with your project.
596 Acres will continue to schedule workshops and visoning sessions by request in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan throughout the spring and summer.
Press Contact
Richard Semegram, Communications Coordinator,, C: 617 571 0059.
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