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RE: Anti-CG Article in today's NY Post

  • Subject: RE: [cg] Anti-CG Article in today's NY Post
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2002 17:35:23 -0500


The ironic thing, which the tone deaf writer of the Post piece article
couldn't catch, was that the name of the Lower East Side garden in question
in  the very non-anglophonic "La Plaza Cultural". While the stolid housing
advocate ladies pictured in the article  are of Puerto Rican descent,  a
good 50% of more of the Lower East Side's community gardeners are Hispanic
as well. Some NY community gardens are almost predominantly Hispanic (which
here also means Pan Caribbean, Central & South American & Iberian). These
community gardens aren't private gardens but maintained by volunteers for
the community. They are uniformly a place where seniors can go and sit, or
garden if they choose, without the hassles of drug dealers or people
engaging in  unfriendly activities. 

Competition of land uses in low income areas is an old story - often
government pits one good use against another good useleaving folks who help
others at loggerheads rather working towards inclusive solutions.

Uptown, in Hell's Kitchen we are negotiating a garden merger of the Oasis I
& II gardens  to enable the building of the Encore Senior citizen housing
and the net preservation of equivalent garden space. Bottom line: we get
both senior housing and community gardens. Sister Elizabeth, the Encore
director has even dedicated funds to fixing up the merged garden and is
looking at enabled gardening plots in it as an activity for her seniors. It
has taken the neighborhood a while, but it is possible, with comprimise, to
have one's cake and eat it too. 

The Lower East Side housing advocate ladies and program directors were a
little hot under the collar and chose to throw a little compost at folks who
didn't look or speak like they did - bad form for any Americans of any
stripe. Karma is a boomerang. Just because the Feds fund you does not
necessarily mean that you're legit. 

Being charitable and fair minded today, I'll give these ladies  the benefit
of the doubt. I'll say that they are misguided though legitimate people
genuinely looking out for the welfare of seniors, not for nicely paying
program director's jobs with perks and budget line items which fade into
off-shore bank accounts.

I trust my neighbors, but I'm not afraid to verify bonifides. It's the
American way.  

On folks from "Kansas and Oklahoma":

NYC,in addition to "huddled masses yearning to breathe free"  from all over
the world also gets immigrants from the mainland US.  

These folks often end up  here because of school, theater, perceived
economic opportunity, the funny idea that NYC is the intellectual and
artistic capital of the world ( shhh! we've been fooling folks about that
one for years!) Other draws are  our  relative freedom from homophobic
violence and (with the obvious exception of people driving planes into
buildings) people are murdered  here for money and drugs.
(Sectarian violence for it's own sake is not our style. We're too busy
scrambling for a buck for that.)   

Many like living in a place where if you are one in a million, there are
eight others just like you ;) This reverse migration (in a country where 50%
of all Americans had ancestor's who came through NYC's Ellis Island as
immigrants)is fun - you have no idea how provincial the attitudes that a
native New York boy like me can get about folks who live west of the Hudson

At the Clinton Community garden, we have our garden rules printed in
English, Spanish & Arabic, have elected a garden chairperson from
Mississippi and have Midwesterners turning compost with Croatians &
Cameroonians. Communist Chinese from the trade mission sometimes come by to
sun themselves and volunteer - non corvee, volunteer community  labor
intrigues them.  Our barbecues are interesting. Our war hero is a 73 year
old lady who was a partisan with Tito and speaks English like an Italian
countess in a Compton-Burnett novel.  

Unfortunately, John,  we have such a diverse garden that if we started
putting up flags, we'd have no room for plants. However, your okra seeds are
surely welcome. Please send them to: 
 Clinton Community Garden
 P.O. Box 214
 New York, NY 10108-0214

 Best wishes,
Adam Honigman


-----Original Message-----
From: JSBMH2@aol.com [mailto:JSBMH2@aol.com]
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2002 9:27 PM
To: Adam.Honigman@bowne.com
Cc: community_garden@mallorn.com; cybergardens@treebranch.com
Subject: re:[cg] Anti-CG Article in today's NY Post 

Hi Adam,
I am one of "these people who come from Kansas and Oklahoma, and wherever 
else, who think they have a right to their own private gardens," At first I 
took a dash of umbrage at her triad, but then I realized she was right.  We 
do think we have a right to a garden.  To be sure, the issues here have more

to do with community and poverty than with space, hell I could feed New Your

City for free if I could farm the vacant land in Oklahoma City.  Presented 
with the choice of a high rise or destroying an established neighborhood 
garden few of us 'wherever else' folk would think twice.  I had it in my
that New York was a melting pot.....but that's another issue.  

Its like breathing.  Growing food.

But I see a possibility for Community Garden art here.  On behalf of your 
brothers here in Oklahoma, I would like to mail you an Oklahoma flag and
okra seed for the Clinton Garden.  (e-m me a mailing address).  New
for a new New York.
I'm looking forward to seeing you in July.
John Herndon
Urban Harvest Coordinator
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma


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