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Statement by Friends of the Bellevue Hospital Sobriety Garden -Thursday evening June 22nd

  • Subject: [cg] Statement by Friends of the Bellevue Hospital Sobriety Garden -Thursday evening June 22nd
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 17:11:54 -0400

Statement by Friends of the Bellevue Hospital Sobriety Garden - Thursday
evening June 22nd - Health Services Commitee of CB6. Bellevue Hospital Center,
"Old Medical Library," CD Building, 8th Floor - 6:00 PM.

Delivered by Adam Honigman, member, Friends of the Bellevue Hospital Sobriety

Let me start by saying that our defense of the Bellevue Sobriety Garden does
not mean either that we oppose the construction of the East River Science Park
or that we refuse under any circumstances to move and start over.  Like most
New Yorkers, we hope that the Science Park will move our City into the
forefront in the medical technology field. And again, like a true New Yorker,
our garden has a record of flexibility, having been uprooted and replanted
several times in its 17 year history.

However, we wish you to consider four important points in this issue.

First, we are convinced that not every alternative has been explored because
Bellevue, it either  institutional arrogance or indifference,  has not invited
community input or run an open decision making process.

Secondly, paving over our garden is poor resource management, taking our
therapeutic space to create a mere  64 temporary -- and I stress, temporary --
parking spots  needed only until 2008 when the  Science Park will open with
400 parking spaces of its own.

Finally, Bellevue is not offering us an appropriate alternative location.  The
various proposals include two non-contiguous strips, in a landscaped entrance
area, totaling 6% of our present area, the narrow strip of our present space
which sits atop the hospitalbs diesel tanks and the roof of a loading dock,
which the hospital cannot use for parking.  But we cn't use it for gardening,
either, since webd have to leave a 16-foot wide access drive for diesel

Please remember also, that the People of the City of New York have mandated
Bellevue Hospital, via its Health and Hospitalbs Corporation to  heal our
sick, bind up the wounds of our injured, help those who are addicted to legal
and illegal controlled substances break that cycle of self-destruction b&to
stay clean and achieve a healthy life.

The hospitalbs mission, at base is eonbs old: bFirst, do no harm.b

Paving over the Bellevue Sobriety Garden does real harm to hundreds of real
people, addicted patents who use the garden. And to  what greater good ? To
provide 64 free or subsidized parking spaces for the private automobiles NYC
Health and Hospitals Corporation employees?

There is something very wrong with this picture.  There is no healing
alternative to the Bellevue Sobriety Garden, but the Bellevue HHC employees
certainly have access to commercial private parking, the streets, or God
forbid, the public transporation that millions of New Yorkers, and the even
the Mayor of the City of New York take to work on a daily basis.

Thatbs why we need you to keep the big picture in mind.  You know that once
a garden is paved, it never comes back.  That once a therapeutic project for
recovering addicts and alcoholics is downsized, it canbt blossom the way it
used to.  Reflect on the irony of a giant bio-science center, with its mission
of human healing through the manipulation of nature, leading to the
destruction of a small swath of garden that b without technology as an
intermediary b so powerfully restores our essential human spirit.

Thank you
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