New Stories From 'Urban Agriculture Notes'
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1930: Only working farm in Manhattan 86 years ago

213thJune 8, 1933. Broadway, east side, north from 213th Street, with the N.E. corner in the foreground. Behind the billboards is a truck garden.

213and10 Manhattan area today. Click on image for larger file.

The farmer’s children can’t lay in the street, however. They might get hit by a taxi.

About New York
By Richard Massock
Corsicana Daily
Aug 23, 1930
(Early use of the term ‘urban agriculture’. Mike)

Urban Agriculture

Right here on Manhattan Island, with its skyscraper, tenements, subways and million population, there’s a farm.

It is the only one in town and it is bounded on three sides by seven story apartments. On the other side is the Tenth Avenue elevated railroad. It is an easy tomato’s throw from Broadway at 213th Street.

It is not, of course, a rancho. It is just a city block in size and it belongs to a New Orleans man who rents it to the Benedettos, Vincent, his wife, their four boys and five girls.

Tenth Ave from 213 to 215th St.

Mrs. Benedetto, who does most of the farming, raise corn, tomatoes, radishes, and mints – and pigeons. Mint is the big crop, but the others together support the Benedettos.

The marketing problem is simple. The products are bought by the neighbours who live all around the two-story frame house, honey suckle covered, in which the farmer lives.

The farmer’s children can’t lay in the street, however. They might get hit by a taxi.

Other interesting farms here about are those run by the Chinese on Long Island, especially the Wong farm near Oyster Bay, where vegetables are grown for chop sued.

Among the products are bamboo sprouts, Chinese sprouts, Chinese onions, corn and squashes, parsnips, and cucumbers of a peculiar shape and flavour. They also grow the meat for their own chicken chow mien.


Interview with Inwood resident Josephene Benedetto Bliani who sat down with oral historian Jeff Kisseloff in 1987 and described life on her family’s farm on Broadway and 214th.
Link to “The Last Working Farm” on My Inwood.