Memories of Adam Purple
- Subject: [cg] Memories of Adam Purple
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 16:58:57 -0500
No kids, Adam Purple ain't me, and I certainly ain't Adam Purple, but we have co-existed in the same worlds, and gardened in Lower East Side spaces that were left from the the great Real Estate arson and disinvestment fete of the late 1960's -1970's.
In those day gardens were an ephemeral expression of hope in a city immortalized in films like, "Escape from New York." Great ladies like Liz Christy, Jane Weissman and Tessa Huxley set up the basis for garden permanancy in those days, with competence and love.
I met Adam Purple during the late 60's. And it wasn't in a garden. Adam Purple was, and is remarkably literate and an interesting man around books.
"Emancipated," early, at 14, I lived on E. 4th off of B, went to high school, washed dishes and bussed most weeknights. Because I read books, knew who J.A. Symonds and what a Riviere binding was, and had the patience to read the old great 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britanica. cover-to-cover per my mentor, Jack Biblo, I clerked weekends, in the oldtime bookseller's grey smock at the old Biblo & Tannen, Fourth Avenue Bookshop, Weiser's and Pageant Bookshop on New York's fabled Fourth Avenue Book Row.
One met rum characters on Book Row in those days. The wrinkle-faced W.H. Auden grabbed my ass climbing the ladder to get him a Loeb Library 'Lucretius', ("Listen Auden, the first grab you get because you're a great poet, the next one will get you your lousy, green Limey teeth knocked down your throat.) Chester Kalman, Auden's lover pulled Wystan away shooting daggers with his eyes. Yes Ginsberg was there, the NY Review of Books Crowd, Liz Hardwickeand Adam Purple.
Adam Purple was a solitary, but knew what he wanted - in those days he liked illuminated books, incanablula ( Latin for "swaddling clothes,"i.e, printing done during the first two centuries of movable type and the odd, out of print gardening book, like Katharine White's 1958 "Onward and Upwards in the Garden."
Oh, and he read Jung, had this things about Druids,Ezra Pound, Tibetan Mandela's and paid cash. The Purple was not one of those "steal this book," anarchists. His style was that he would browse books for months, and then finally pay for them. When I later started gardening, and throwing seed bombs with Liz Christy - hey she was cute and looked great in shorts, I began to take notice of Mr. Purple's horticultural efforts.
I had the pleasure of moving rocks, and doing some planting in "The Garden of Eden," found his use of squatter "night soil," quirky and looked at him as a visionary - a kind of East Coast Alan Chadwick. In later years, I remember showing my late wife his "Garden of Eden," while doing holiday shopping on the LES, and seeing his girlfriend/wife in their purple hats and mopeds on West 55th Street as they returned from their Central Park horsemanure gathering expeditions. Once I showed Allegra the "Garden of Eden," their moped expeditions took on greater significance than an excentric crunchy's peramulations. That garden was a truly powerful expression of spirituality that I have not seen before or since in any community garden.
Oh, all - if you ever go to the rare book room at the NYPL on Fifth Avenue, there is a rare book created by Adam Purple himself - it may be one of the tiniest printed books in their collection. Purple is/was an amazing craftsman.
Sent: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 12:09:48 -0500
Subject: Re: [tb-cybergardens]: Misplaced identity of Adam
Adam Purple has been a beloved activist, artist and icon on the Lower East Side for several decades. he's most known for The Garden of Eden - a huge circular garden he developed and nurtured on Forsythe in the 70's-80's (that was bulldozed in 1986 for low income housing). the garden was a glorious and massive work of art that was made using all kinds of abandoned debris that Adam found around the city and recycled, including horse manure. Adam not only brought a great work of beauty, peace and enjoyment to the people of the neighborhood, but he was known for passing around the harvest. since the garden was destroyed, he's moved to the East Village and continues his activism and recycling work throughout the neighborhood.
if you're new to the EV or LES take a minute to read a little about one of the area's true homesteaders, it was a different world just a decade ago. and if you see the "purple guy" in the hood, please treat him with the honor and respect he deserves, anarchist heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
From: Brett Allen <email@example.com>
Sent: Wed, 2 Nov 2005 18:57:27 -0500
Subject: [tb-cybergardens]: Misplaced identity of Adam
News from the tb-cybergardens mailing list
Adam Purple is still cruising the Lower East Side. He could never be
confused with Adam Honigman; Mr. Purple is both more circumspect and more
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