Where do you connect with your community?

JOIN 596 ACRES: online TONIGHT, in Brooklyn THIS SUNDAY & in Manhattan in March
We’ll be on facebook live tonight from 7pm to 8pm to scheme with you about organizing to gain access to vacant lots, buildings and street ends in your life to make them into community spaces, and more. Reply to this email with your questions, or just bring them to the online event. More info here and RSVP to the facebook event here to get notified when we start.

This Sunday, February 11 from 3:45pm to 5:45 pm, we’re joining Spaceworks NYCCumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance and Theater of the Oppressed NYC for a presentation/discussion called Space for Everyone: Different Approaches to Finding the Right Space for Your Project and Your Community at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) (421 5th Ave between 7th and 8th Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn), part of BAX Artist Services WeekendEvent information here.

Save the date: Saturday, March 31 from 2:45pm to 4pm, we’ll hold space for a Community Land Access Story Circle at the daylong community gardening conference, GreenThumb GrowTogether, at Borough of Manhattan Community College (119 Chambers Street in Manhattan). Event information here.

We contributed to Inclusive City: Strategies to achieve more equitable and predictable land use in New York City which RPA released last weekread it here. Meet our web tools developer intern Sam Raby here. Check out our 2017 Impact Report: Stories from the Acres here, with art, our year in financials, and shout outs to the community that supports our work. Thank you! 

Day cares, houses of workshop, veteran’s resource centers, theaters and more—nonprofits own places in the service of their missions, and are exempt from paying property taxes as per NYS law. Administrative errors are putting hundreds of places like these that NYers rely on in the hands of Wall Street investors each year via the Department of Finance Tax Lien Sale. Learn more hereHere’s what you can do to #protectourplaces:

  1. Help pass Intro 0245, new legislation re-introduced by Councilmember Reynoso last week that will exempt nonprofit-owned properties from the tax lien sale. Let’s get it done before the 2018 sale is prepared this MayFind out how here.
  2. Help protect these places from illegal foreclosure. Their debt was improperly sold to private speculators between 2011-2017. Follow these steps to protect places before speculators initiate foreclosure, which could lead to sale at auction to the highest bidder.
  3. Join the #ProtectOurPlaces coalition with your block association, house of worship, advocacy organization, community garden, cooperative enterprise or other neighborhood group to amplify the call! Contact or (718) 316-6092 X 3 to join. Get a head start by sharing the press stories here on social media.

Advocacy leading up to the sale last year was tremendous (read about it here). Now we’re gearing up to protect potential loss of community properties that our neighborhoods rely on in 2018: next Monday, February 12, the Department of Finance will release the “90-day list” of places with debt heading towards the sale in May. We’ll need your help reaching out: check here where we will post the list and map of included nonprofits.

Midwood, Brooklyn – Kids playing soccer in the street outside a decrepit city-owned building on E 15th Street and Avenue I (photo here) want it to be a real soccer field, with a way to keep their balls from falling into the seldom-used freight train tracks below. NYC used to lease this land and building to the MTA as a power station, but by 2012 both decided it was no longer needed. Join your neighbors in planning for its future! Sign up to Organize for updates and next steps here:

Jamaica, Queens – In honor of a resident of the block who passed on, a neighbor is organizing to create a community garden to replace a vacant Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) lot where the street ends at 107-70 Watson Place. Of the city agencies, DCAS tends not to make plans for public land, so nothing is likely to happen to it until another agency requests jurisdiction; Parks can do so at the request of neighbors with a great idea! Join Amanda in collecting signatures from neighbors in favor of a garden here by printing and using this petition. Read next steps and get involved by contacting them at, (917) 528-5013, or signing up to Organize here:

Far Rockaway, Queens – NYC Parks responded with gratitude and enthusiasm to local advocates’ design for the future park at Nameoke and Augustina Aves! Because of these neighbors’ campaign to transform this vacant Department of Sanitation lot into a community farm, they were able to stop the City from selling it as planned, and commit instead to funding a future green space. The letter (pdf here) says residents’ design will inform NYC Parks’ work, which is slated to begin in 2019. For updates, sign up to Organize here:

Highbridge, Bronx – Nearly three decades since the city first top-down planned it, $4.6 million has been allocated to make Corporal Fischer Park (between W169th and 170th, Nelson and Shakespeare Aves) a real public park! Last December, NYers who have lived near this fenced-off vacant lot testified about it at City Council’s Committee on Parks & Rec hearing. Last month, NYC’s Department of City Planning replied to a letter we sent that advocates’ vision of the Holistic Health and Wellness Community Garden can guide the park that is coming to the block (for over a year, residents have been planning a sanctuary for a part of the block that the city is now making top-down moves to sell to a housing developer, against locals’ wishes). Clarifying pictures here. Organizing history plus get updates when it’s time to take next steps in design by signing up to Organize here:

Bedstuy, Brooklyn – Myrtle Village Green (at Kent) is in the early stages of assigning plots for the 2018 growing season! If you live near the garden and would like to grow with us this year, email them at with your info and your interests to get on the list. Connect on facebook here.

The NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYC REIC) is in business! The cooperative now has approval from the NYS Attorney General Real Estate Bureau to collect money from member-investors and use it for real estate investment. Now’s a great time to become a member-investor or suggest a project! More about NYC REIC hereJoin the facebook group here.

No 501c3? No Problem! Introduction to Fiscal Sponsorship, a workshop by Partnerships for Parks is this Wednesday, February 7 at 6:30pm at the Arsenal Building in Manhattan (850 5th Ave, 3rd floor). If your group is looking for more fundraising opportunities, but you’re unsure if becoming a nonprofit is right for your group, this workshop will detail how to find a fiscal sponsor. More information and register here.

Build skills and connect! All upcoming GreenThumb events & workshops listed here. 

New York City Community Land Initiative is hiring a full-time staff member to coordinate a new “Learning Exchange” for community groups working to organize or expand community land trusts (CLTs) in their neighborhoods! The Learning Coordinator will work with an experienced team to plan and implement a comprehensive curriculum for groups, including monthly workshops, technical assistance, site visits, and other ongoing support. More info in the posting here.

The NYC Compost Project hosted by Earth Matter on Governors Island is seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to assist in all aspects of compost operations as Temporary Field Assistant, 32 hours/week at $20/hour. Deadline to apply is February 15More information and how to apply here.

Design Trust For Public Space is accepting applications for the Equitable Public Space Fellowship. Become a staff member for an intensive one-year fellowship that starts in June 2018. Deadline to apply is Sunday, March 18More information here.

This Saturday, February 10 from 10am to 3pm at the Old Stone House (336 3rd Street between 4th and 5th Aves) in Park Slope, Brooklyn, join the NY Permaculture Exchange, the Park Slope Permaculture Guild and the Old Stone House & Washington Park for their 13th annual seed swap! Bring your seeds to swap them. All ages welcome. Event information here.

This Saturday, February 10 from 12pm to 3pm, GrowNYC is co-hosting Flatbush Stop ‘N’ Swap at PS 269 (1957 Nostrand between E30th and 31st Street)! Bring clean, portable, reusable items you no longer need and take home something new-to-you. No one is required to bring something to take something. Books, toys, fashionable clothing, housewares, electronics & more! More information here. Not in Flatbush? Find a February/March GreenThumb community swap near you here.

Compost Grant is live! Citizens Committee, with the Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board and Borough President Gale Brewer, awards $750 to start or expand compost projects in NYC. Applications due March 23. More information 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.

Two stewards look at a map of street ends and underused public space along Newtown Creek

We looked deep at opportunities for local residents to turn street ends and more underused public land along Newtown Creek (that narrow waterway off the East River between Brooklyn and Queens) into community spaces, and then brought our map to compare notes with local residents/stewards at Newtown Creek Alliance’s first Superfun/d Series event (info about the next one here). This sparked a plan for turning unused MTA space near Johnson Ave at Morgan into enjoyable public waterfront space that can also host the youth-led community compost enterprise of BK Rot. Stay tuned for more creek-side community land access organizing! For updates, click Organize on the lot page here:

596 Acres

Share this Post!

About the Author : 596 Acres

Related posts

Translate »