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Please Help Save the Bellevie Sobriety Gardeb

  • Subject: [cg] Please Help Save the Bellevie Sobriety Gardeb
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 03:36:28 EDT


The Bellevue Sobriety Garden is at the Bellevue Hospital Center, 462  First
Avenue (at 28th Street) in Manhattan. Enter main entrance atrium,  and proceed
directly back (with the main flow of foot traffic) to the  older part of
Bellevue to the building known as "New Bellevue." This  brings you to a
lobby with a giant mosaic of the city. Exit right  through the brown sliding
doors to the "south parking lot." The garden is  ahead, just to your left. (If
this is confusing, just ask Security how to  get to the "south parking lot!")
About the Bellevue Sobriety Garden
The Bellevue Sobriety Garden is slated to be turned into a parking lot.
Bulldozers are scheduled for July. Time is short. This is a call to action  to
prevent the destruction of a priceless resource.
Since 1989, the garden has been a sanctuary for patients, and  increasingly
for staff and visitors, who come to garden, meditate, and  relax amidst the
flowers, greenery and unique folk sculptures and mosaics.  Built by recovering
addicts, funded strictly by donations of time,  supplies and money, it is a
showcase therapeutic site.
The Bellevue Administration has the opportunity to show its leadership  in
creative recovery programs by stopping this parking lot! We believe  that they
will respond to public pressure to find a solution to staff  parking without
sacrificing this special space.
Bellevue Hospital Sobriety Garden, Founded 1989
The garden sits on a wedge of land carved out on bthe south lawnb of
Bellevue Hospital, flanked by the main hospital building, the FDR drive on
east, 26th Street on the south, and bthe south parking lotb on the  west.
covers approximately 15,000 square feet. Part of it is cultivated  in
much of it in flowers; its paths are created from mosaics  and stones, heavily
accented with bfound objects;b folk sculptures and  rustic art punctuate
space. Its home-grown, work-in-progress  appearance, nurtured by scores of
the predominantly poor and homeless  patients Bellevue serves, creates an
inspiring environment for all  visitors.
The Garden Is Facing Its Greatest Threat Ever
New York City's Economic Development Corporation is about to break  ground on
the East River Science Park on 29th Street, causing Bellevue  Hospital to
lose 230 parking spots for three years. The hospital  administration believes
that the only solution is to reorganize the  existing parking in bthe south
 installing 4-story stackable parking  lifts and extending the parking over
the Bellevue Sobriety Garden to  gain approximately 60 more spots.
The patients and staff are shocked and devastated to see their  therapeutic
garden facing destruction. The plans were drawn up in secret  and announced in
late May to the Addiction Recovery staff, whose members  are under strict
orders to not protest, at penalty of losing their jobs.  Demolition is slated
take place by mid-July. Bellevue's administrators  have proposed an smaller
alternative site (6% of the current size) near  the landscaped front entrance
the hospital, inappropriate for patient  activity.
We are rallying to ask Bellevue to return to the drawing board to find  a
more imaginative solution. Steps can include undertaking a census as to  who
really parking at Bellevue to determine whether they have a  compelling need
do so; determining whether 60 cars can park elsewhere  -- this step alone
would save our garden.
Background of the Sobriety Garden
The patients that founded and cultivated the therapeutic garden since  1989
are members of the Bellevuebs chemical dependency rehabilitation  clinics.
are homeless and have medical and psychiatric conditions  that complicate
their efforts to establish a sound recovery. They struggle  enormously to
overcome their additions. The garden has been an invaluable  complement to
conventional treatments, which include 12- step programs,  counseling, and
as it provides the only contact with nature  and therapeutic gardening (with
its endless metaphors of rebirth, hope and  struggle) that most of these
individuals have ever had.
The garden and is financed exclusively through voluntary donations. The
Auxiliary to Bellevue Hospital is the organization that receives and  monitors
of its funds. Donations by hundreds of individuals of time,  hard work, money
and supplies have created the garden b not just once, but  in the numerous
fresh starts it has been required to make. The founder and  driving force
the garden is the Director of Bellevuebs Chemical  Dependency Outpatient
Clinic. Fueled by her passionate belief in the  therapeutic necessity of
with nature for her patients, over the  last 17 years she has devoted
hours of labor, spent many tens of  thousands of dollars of her own money,
and (most difficultly of all) waged  interminable battles with the hospital
In December 2000, the Therapeutic Garden was hastily moved from its
traditional site in the back of the old psychiatric building, between 29th
and 30th
Streets, to make way for a staff parking lot (which then became  an extension
of the city morgue following 9/11). A new site for the Garden  was designated
by the hospital at the bSouth Lawn,b atop the hospital's  emergency
diesel tanks. The garden experienced severe turmoil  during 2003-2005, when
two-thirds of its surface was excavated to install  new fiberglass diesel
fourteen feet under the ground.
At the end of June 2005 volunteers started to reconstruct the marble  mosaic
paths and sitting areas, raised new planting area walls, repaired  and
restored raised vegetable bed walls, shoveled 31 yards of finely  screened
into the planting areas, repaired the watering system,  built pink granite
benches, raised a cement-covered Pergola to support the  wisteria and climbing
rose, sculpted two blue eyed cement lions to guard  the pergola, and
the plants which had been rescued during the  tank excavation.
Please help us keep the garden for the patients, visitors and  staff alike.


Best regards,
Adam Honigman

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