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How This New York City Community Garden Became the Center of Controversy

The half-acre Elizabeth Street Garden serves as a public green space in one of the city’s most severely underserved neighborhoods in terms of open space. Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Street Garden

The Elizabeth Street Garden in NoLIta is slated for destruction in a new city plan for affordable housing—and neighbors are fighting back

By Elizabeth Fazzare
Architectural Digest
December 12, 2017


“This is a false choice; affordable housing cannot come at the expense of green public space,” said New York City comptroller Scott Stringer at a rally in front of City Hall yesterday. Supported by public advocate Letitia James, senator Brian Kavanagh, assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, and Terri Cude, chair of the neighborhood’s community board two, a group of approximately 100 protesters gathered on the steps in response to a recent contract awarded by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, one that plans to redevelop a 20,110-square-foot garden in the NoLIta neighborhood into affordable housing apartments for senior citizens.

While the district’s council member Margaret Chin supports the redevelopment, several other elected officials and neighbors do not. They argue, instead, that nearby vacant lots should be built upon, and the garden saved.

“The truth is that we have identified sites where we could build real affordable housing; the community determined those sites,” continued Stringer. “And why we continue to destroy a garden for our children makes no sense. We have got to go back to a city that values community-based planning.”

Read the complete article here.