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Re: [tb-cybergardens]: It ain't over...

  • Subject: [cg] Re: [tb-cybergardens]: It ain't over...
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2005 18:24:22 EST


I'm so glad Laura spoke up on this - her turtle pond in Liz Christy is so 
glorious! This lady has so much common sense (along with a few other unmentioned 
folks from Liz Christy who won't drink the chicken-little "Kool aid") that 
she, along with the ghost of Ms. Liz herself  are largely the reason that I've 
been rattling a few of the cages on this listserve, and in quietly with those 
officials who can make a difference, for  this tiny, sweet, community garden.  

Anyway, the  last offer from Avalon that I shared with you all is a good one. 
And it's true, Mark, I don't have a live dog in the fight - I was a Liz 
Christy Gardener in only the very earliest years. 

Except that the Liz Christy Garden is too important to lose, and the process 
of gardener/neigbhor - developer negotiation too important to undermine for 
all the rest of our community garden community in the City of New York.  

And that's largely for people of color who eat from their gardens.  In places 
like the Bronx, so far above 14th Street, it might as well be Tibet. 

We live in a real world city, Mark again - and believe me, the whole real 
estate community and our city government (sometimes, it seems one and the same 
entity)  is looking to see if gardeners can really sit down and deal like 
rational adults- instead of having conniptions in the face of change.  

And this is NYC - and change is our only constant. This is the town of the 
"rotating elbow," as Jimmy Breslin said, and we have to make sure those elbows 
don't rotate community gardens out.  

We really shouldn't set the precedent to these guys that a reasonable offer 
like this one was pissed on. 

I have NEVER seen a developer bend over backwards like this, and we did some 
doozies of garden preservation deals in Clinton, where there will be no 
net-foot community garden loss when the dominoes come in alignment. 

Again - real world: From the developer's perspective, it's much easier to for 
the cops to cut our "chained to the gates," activist bodies off the 
wire-linked and bulldoze than negotiating with folks who care about trees, gardens and 
turtle ponds. It's much cheaper paying a fine, because to these boys, time IS 
money.  And at the end of the day, we want our gardens too. 

And once this drama is over, from our experience in Hell's Kitchen and the 
block through West Side Community garden on the upper west side, there will be 
plenty of the "new people," to help maintain our green spaces as well.  Let's 
not be such "snobs," about the new people, whomever they are. 

In solidarity, 
Adam Honigman


> Subj: Re: [tb-cybergardens]: It ain't over... 
>  Date: 1/14/05 5:17:59 PM Mid-Atlantic Standard Time
>  From: Laura10012@aol.com
>  Reply-to: cybergardens@treebranch.com
>  To: cybergardens@treebranch.com
>  Sent from the Internet 
> Dear Mark,
> You've asked a number of questions here on this list and I might be able to 
> answer them.  I garden there.  
> Yes, the LC Gardeners have been in negotioations with this developer since 
> at least this past August, informally longer.  It does seem like most of the 
> concessions have been coming from the developer.  Someone, please correct me 
> if I'm wrong, but I think the only thing the Gardeners gave up was:
> --having open public hours for the duration of the construction/demolition 
> work.  
> The Developer has offered beyond what's required in their contract:  
> --a redesign of a good part (40%) of the building along our borderline, this 
> saves the European Mountain Ash and the Poplar (although the poplar is a 
> little sick)
> --installation of a trellis (although we don't know how high, preferably 
> something over 8-10 feet), 
> --installing water and electrical lines (although we'll have to pay for the 
> electricity we use), 
> --moving in from 20feet to 10feet the distance from our border to where 
> they'll put up a protection wall of plywood AND taking down that plywood after 3 
> months to replace with netting so the plants can get water and sun and won't 
> be stuck behind some plywood all summer long, 
> --replacement of lost trees and major shrubs, 
> --help fixing up RocknRose the way we'd like it (though not total: the fence 
> they offer is only chain link, not custom wood and iron), 
> --letting Gardeners go into the site 2 times a week to water, weed and prune
> --raising the height of the first floor restaurant windows to a minimun of 6 
> feet from the ground to the bottm sill
> The 2 big sticking points seem to be 1.) we want the windows to be higher up 
> and 2.) we think they can use some other method to lay their foundation that 
> will pre-support the garden soil.  If they can't do this, then we will lose 
> the Blue Atlas Cedar. 
> So far, we have voted to reject their offer and are holding out for them to 
> give us windows in the western half of the Garden that start much higher up 
> than 6 feet and for them to find and use alternate engineering of their 
> foundation. Oh, we also want mulch delivered so we can spread it to cover the beds 
> from dust, we want the Grape arbor 4" x 4" posts left in place, and $10,000 a 
> year if the windows for the restaurant go in.  We want the pond relined and 
> rebuilt (although, this has been my area for the past 10 years and I would 
> prefer to just get the money from them and do it ourselves.)  Also 24/7 access 
> for the Gardeners (public still excluded for safety reasons) to go into the 
> Garden except for 8 hours per workday, Monday to Saturday.  We as a group 
> (though a disclosure here, I am personally in favor of accepting their last 
> offer) have decided to risk losing some if not most of these concessions and going 
> back to the minimal provisions of their original contract with the City in 
> favor of holding out for higher windows and keeping the current Cedar.
> You also asked yesterday if Avalon was going to be managing the new space 
> after the building is up and the answer is Yes.  Honey, meet our new neighbors! 
> I think one of Adam's concerns is that by playing so demanding with this 
> particular developer now, we as a NYC community gardening sphere risk setting 
> the stage for any future developer seeing that working with gardeners is not 
> worth making the effort.  If the fines associated with pulling a Donald 
> Cappocia move or even a legal but hardline move are so much less that acceding to 
> Gardeners every last wish, what the hey, they'll go with the safe.  All I know 
> about other Garden/Developer conflicts is what I've heard and read, and this 
> one now is doing things with us in a different way.
> Well, that's long enough for me to be going on.  I love the Garden, too, and 
> wish the cuando building and the old Stanton Trading building were going to 
> stay and be fixed up.  That boat sailed away three years ago.  700 new people 
> are going to be moving to the block and across the street and I hope we 
> won't be too sullen and hostile when we greet them.  When I moved here in 1977 
> the dominican people and the older artists and the leftover hippies didn't give 
> me the hairy eyeball for moving into their territory.   Which made it easy 
> for me to see them the same way.   Even with all the "lifestyle" 
> overdevelopment here since 1990 or so, I just don't think life is so changed.
> Laura.

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