Can a Community Garden Stop the NYU Expansion?
Neighbors and advocates argue that the university can’t build on what should be considered official parkland
By Nora Bosworth
March 7, 2013
One effect of the plan, if executed, is certain: the LaGuardia Corner Gardens, the longest running community garden in the City, will be no more. The building that would go up on Bleecker Street would cast the garden into shadow, killing off most, if not all, of its plants.
“While the remaining sunlight could support shade-tolerant species, the proposed Bleecker Building adjacent to the garden would cast between four and five-and-a-half hours of new shadow on the garden during morning hours throughout the growing season, jeopardizing the viability of shade-intolerant species,” states the Environmental Impact Statement that the Department of City Planning composed.
It goes on to explain, however, that such a loss would not damage the neighborhood’s character as the garden is not, “a defining feature … with respect to uniqueness or overall characterization of the area.”
Sara Jones, Chairwoman of LaGuardia Corner Gardens, begs to differ. A florist by trade, she has spent nearly twenty years tending to her community garden and is now steeling herself for the death of most of her plants, including her one hundred rose bushes–she counted them recently– her vegetables and herbs, and the apple tree that is older than the garden itself. It has dozens of members and is open to the public seven days a week.