FW: nyt on Esperanza
This message was from the NY Times, a national newspaper in the developer's
pocket, that was updated every few weeks by garden activists and "suddenly"
came across this hidden atrocity.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: L.A. Kauffman [SMTP:email@example.com]
> Sent: Friday, February 18, 2000 1:40 PM
> To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;@rly-za01.mx.aol.com;
> Subject: nyt on Esperanza
> All the letters that people have been sending to the New York Times
> have clearly had an effect -- below is the text of an editorial they
> published yesterday. But the paper's Metro editor, Jonathan Landman,
> clearly still doesn't get it -- check out the double-speak in his response
> to one garden supporter's letter.
> EDITORIAL: "Death of a Garden" NY Times, Feb 12, 2000
> On Tuesday morning, Esperanza Garden, a community garden
> on East Seventh Street in Manhattan, was bulldozed after
> 22 years of existence. Its destruction marked the latest
> battle in the long-running war between Mayor Rudolph
> Giuliani and community advocates over the use of city-owned
> lots for community gardens. City Hall contends that many
> lots were only lent to the neighborhoods for gardens with the
> understanding that they would ultimately be taken back. Now,
> the mayor says, the lot on East Seventh Street should be
> sold to a developer to build low- and middle-income housing.
> But the developer for this lot has set aside only 20 percent
> of the planned housing units for low-income housing. The
> rest will be made available as the market dictates. There
> are also provisions for nearly 7,000 square feet of retail
> space and 5,000 square feet of permanent open space.
> The fate of Esperanza Garden had been decided during
> a series of public hearings intended, in the administration's
> words, to balance competing interests, though it is not
> clear how the users of a community garden can compete
> with the economic clout of a developer.
> No city ownership right can quite absolve the mayor and
> his administration of insensitivity in their handling of
> community gardens. "If you live in an unrealistic world
> then you can say everything should be a community
> garden," the mayor said. But their defenders do not
> assert that everything should be a community garden.
> They only say that such gardens, rare as they are, bring
> vitality and a sense of purpose to neighborhoods.
> The conflict underlying the destruction of Esperanza
> Garden seems more fundamental than a struggle
> between gardeners and developers, green space and
> housing. It seems to be a conflict about the expression
> of public will. In most cases, the mayor clearly tries
> to take a broad view of what is best for most New Yorkers.
> Not every community garden will survive in an economic
> climate as ebullient and a housing market as tight as
> this one. But the most meaningful definition of public
> value is not always the broadest or most economically
> justifiable one. A patch of green or a plot of flowers
> can often do more for a neighborhood than new
> apartments and retail establishments.
> TIMES EDITOR: "Low-income housing has meant
> mixed-income housing for many years now"
> >Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 15:25:15 -0500
> >From: Jonathan Landman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >Subject: Re: Letter to Metro Editor
> >To: Joel Westheimer <email@example.com>
> > Dear Professor Westheimer,
> > Thanks for your letter. Glad you liked the coverage. I don't
> >our description of the housing issue was inaccurate, though it certainly
> >wasn't exhaustive. The 80-20 formula is, as I'm sure you know, a standard
> >one in mixed-income housing. Low-income housing has meant mixed-income
> >housing for many years now.
> > Sincerely,
> > Jonathan Landman
> > Metropolitan Editor
> > The New York Times
> >At 12:42 PM 2/17/00 -0500, you wrote:
> >>Letter to the Editor
> >>New York Times
> >>To Jonathan Landman:
> >>Bravo on the terrific coverage of the Esperanza Garden bulldozing (NYT,
> >>2/16/00, p. A1). Given the dearth of greenspace in the East Village and
> >>the Lower East Side, the Guliani administration should be raising
> >>rather than razing them. Unfortunately, the article was factually
> >>inaccurate in portraying Guliani's motives. The fact is that only 20%
> >>the housing will be reserved for low to middle income tenants while 80%
> >>will bear market prices. Even the 20% will only be subsidized for 10
> >>after which 100% of the units will be made available at market prices.
> >>Joel Westheimer
> >>Professor of Teaching and Learning and Fellow of the
> >>Center for the Study of American Culture and Education
> >>at New York University
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org