Through our staff’s facilitation and the efforts of neighbors across the City, since January 1, 2014, ten new official community spaces have been created:
1278 Myrtle Avenue (Bushwick, Brooklyn, licensed & transferred to the Parks Department);
Glenmore Grows (East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation);
Ashford Variety Garden (East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation);
Ashford Teaching Garden (East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation);
Chestnut Street Community Garden (East NY, Brooklyn, with the Cypress Hills Development Corporation);
Harlem Valley Garden (in East Harlem);
Electric Ladybug Harlem Serenity Garden (in East Harlem);
Mandela Park (in East Harlem);
Green Space on 4th (Gowanus, Brooklyn); and
Smiling Hogshead Ranch (lease signed with MTA, Long Island City, Queens).
In addition, we have secured the MTA’s approval of our architect’s plans for a pocket park in East New York on the roof of the A train tunnel; the park will be run by the Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Service. A lease is imminent. Dozens of other spaces have made progress on their campaigns with our guidance and will be official in the coming months. In December, we helped save a neighborhood space in Queens and facilitate its transfer to the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust. The Merrick Marsden Neighbors Association (MMNA). MMNA had maintained the space since 1967; 596 Acres connected them with attorneys Mohen & Segal LLP to represent them for free in court so that they did not lose the land last year to a tax foreclosure and in the transfer to the Trust.
We have also analyzed and made vacant municipal land data available online for Staten Island, mapped the history of Urban Renewal Planning in NYC (1949-present, urbanreviewer.org, a Planetizen Top Ten Website of 2014) and published a new print New York City Advocate’s Guide to Community Land Access. We have been recognized as land access experts in the press, including in How You Can Turn New York City’s Vacant Lots into Community Gardens (DNAinfo.com) and Housing Plan Targets Vacant Lots; Some Neighbors Leery (CityLimits).
Help us keep making this immense impact in all of NYC’s neighborhoods by coming to our party this week: Thursday, October 2 at 7pm at Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, Brooklyn.