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A Visit With a Real Estate Deveoper at the James A. Farley Post Office

  • Subject: [cg] A Visit With a Real Estate Deveoper at the James A. Farley Post Office
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 10:49:22 EDT

Friends,

The winter cold/flu/misery that eluded me in January has bitten me now in May 
- a matter of bad timing.  Last night, armed with several packets of Kleenex 
and a bag of throat losenges, I sallied forth to the James A. Farley General 
Post office on 34th Street near Macy's. It is our post office of last resort, 
being open 24 hours - the TV cameras are always there on April 15th to 
embarrass last minute tax filers. It's an event like the running of the bulls 
at Pamplona or the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. 

As the money was in our checking account,  we decided to take advantage of 
the early-bird registration before we spent the money on something 
frivilous...like bills.  My wife the nurse was looking the other way ( she's 
studying for finals) otherwise she would have kept me from coughing on the 
outside world last night. 

The line in the lobby at the James A. Farley Post office was a crypt-like 
crew, something out of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" - late bill payers, second 
shift office workers and anal-compulsive real estate developers making sure 
that their filings have the right postmark when their admins call in sick. 

So, as fate would have it, I was right behind a low-income-housing developer 
whom I've duked it out with in the past when he tried to get approval to 
build a development on a struggling community garden in CB4 - the short 
story: finally, we ended up getting another not-for-profit developer to build 
near the garden, not on it.  As a give back, this developer gave the garden a 
brand new fence ( it's the Juan Alonzo Garden on 53rd and 11th. I'll show it 
to you if you want when you get in town.) 

Needless to say, I was not one of his favorite people, but seeing that we 
were on line we chatted.  It's called information exchange. Now, we ACGA'ers  
know it is possible to have both low-income housing and gardens, but this 
developer can't see it in a city.  He sees folks living on the streets, 
families with a need for more room as his justification ( I also noticed his 
very nice watch).  He asked why I was there, coughing  like it was the last 
act of "Camille." 

"Taking advantage of the early bird American Community Gardening Association 
NYC Conference offer, " I croaked.  "It's at Columbia University this July."  
I swear, it was like one of Buffy's wooden stakes had been hammered into his 
chest.  "Columbia Unversity?", he said, reeling back in not so complete mock 
shock.

"Yes, " I coughed, " we're national, even international. Here's the catalog, 
" which I dragged out of my back jeans pocket.  As a real estate guy, he 
reads fast and carefully. Looking as if he's seen a cross, "Aresh Javadi is 
appearing at Columbia University, that pain-in-the a - -  garden guy in the 
flower suits who always gets arrested?"

"One and the same, "sez I, " he's doing his talk with some Land Trust 
gardeners and NY Restoration, if you don't wanna see him,   I'm presenting at 
the same time with some folks from  a 40 year old Boston garden."
The idea of supporting community gardens by registering struck the developer 
as ludicrous as marriage without a pre-nuptual agreement. 

"How many people are you expecting," he asked. 

"Several hundred, "sez I, knowing that the idea of several hundred garden 
activists entering the city from all over the world for a convention at IVY 
LEAGUE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY ( he went to a state school) has to upset him as 
much as alimony payments to his third wife. He got his postmark and flew off 
into the night like a bat. As my convention materials got stamped and sent, I 
knew that I had to share this with you...

I just wanted you to have this picture in your mind when you send your 
convention registrations in...

Hope to see you in July.

Adam Honigman
Volunteer Clinton Community Garden 



 












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