I recently returned from a short trip to New York City. This was a purely personal trip so despite the cold I did what I love best, wandering the streets with my camera. My favourite part of the city is The Lower East Side, The East Village, and Alphabet City areas. This upper part of this area also happens to be the birthplace of the modern community and guerilla gardening here in North America. There are several imaginative and beautiful gardens scattered amongst the buildings that were born in the late 70′s and early 80′s out of the community’s desire to turn dangerous, abandoned waste spaces into safe and useful community spaces for the neighborhood. While locals and organizers have had to arduously fight against rising real estate value and gentrification to keep the gardens alive, a few have been granted park status by the city and remain in place. If you ever get a chance to visit New York I highly recommend getting a peek at some of the gardens. You can use this searchable map to locate and map out all of the gardens in the area.
This is the 6th and Ave B Garden [Note: This photo was taken in May 2005], a massive garden that takes up the entire corner of a city block. The garden’s website chronicles its history and shows what the block looked like when it was just a pile of rubble and debris.
Eddie’s Sculpture at the 6th and B Garden. This sculpture has created a lot of controversy. I was surprised to see it was still there just a few days ago.
- Unfortunately, the gardens were all closed for the winter but I still managed to take a few pictures by poking my lens through fences.
I was also fortunate enough to visit many of these gardens as a part of my book launch back in May 2005. You can see more pictures from that trip here.