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Re: Bulldozing Update

  • Subject: [cg] Re: Bulldozing Update
  • From: Mark Leger trix@panix.com
  • Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 13:57:30 -0400

Thanks, Adam, for helping to get the word out. However...

> Like  many of us who have been proponents of the previous three garden bills,
> I realize that  it is no good to cry over delayed or killed community garden
> legislation - enough tears will now be shed over bulldozed gardens or by
> nightstick induced headaches.

I think that it's important to point out that the NYC garden CDs have all
been nonviolent; the police do not use nightsticks against us. Generally,
the police are sympathetic to gardeners. We make their jobs easier (except
when we do CD) by putting eyes back on the street and increasing
neighborhood pride. So the police are not inclined to rough us up. Plus, we
always have a full cadre of legal observers and videographers on hand. CD
veterans always remark on how calm and orderly our actions are.  In the
training, we emphasize that participants should treat everybody, including
the police, with respect. The result: safe and empowering actions.

With that said, from time to time gardeners have "locked down" in threatened
gardens, or more recently, in front of the headquarters of city's Department
of Housing, Preservation, and Development (HPD).  Locking down is a
technique where protestors chain themselves to rods welded into metal pipes.
To get us out, the police need to use saws to cut notches into the pipes, so
they can reach in and release us. This buys us time to get media and more
support to the scene. Some protesters who have done this have sustained
minor abrasions, but the police have always been pretty careful and by the
time they bring out the saws, it's mostly have a work-a-day attitude about
it all.

But not everybody needs to lockdown. Just good old fashioned sitting down,
linking arms, and refusing to move can be amazingly effective.

I also disagree that hearings on the 146 "limbo" gardens will be political
backpatting. For one, we do need a process for deciding the fate of those
gardens. But it is also an opportunity to ask tough questions about open
space justice in New York City--and to come up with some solutions.



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