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A Unique Community Garden News Release from a NYC Elected Official

  • Subject: [cg] A Unique Community Garden News Release from a NYC Elected Official
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com
  • Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 18:22:38 -0400


I've been known to "dis" NYC elected officials for their actions against
community gardens in their communities. Many of you heard my griping at the
American Community Gardening Association Convention last July at NYC's
Columbia University.   However, some elected officials do listen - and City
Councilperson Gale A. Brewer, whose district takes in the northern side of
the street where I live, did.  Even more extraordinarily - Gale listened to
everybody, forged a consensus and acted on behalf of a garden in her

I've worked on many political campaigns - it was my pleasure to work for
Gale, whose work as Chief of Staff for Manhattan Borough President Ruth
Messinger was exemplary. Of the group of new representatives that entered
the NYC Council when term limits were abolished, Gale was, quite frankly,
the most qualified. If there's anyone currently sitting on the council who
carries the intellectual and  political clout to eventually become mayor of
NYC, it's Gale. She's also a nice person. 

I've just received this from NYC Councilperson Gail Brewer in one of her
constituent e-mail newsletters. It suprised me - I have never received a
message from a sitting elected official like it.   
When I say, that community gardening is 50% gardening and 100% grass roots
political action, this is what I'm talking about.
 The short history: The Dome Community Garden was originally located on the
south side of West 84th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues - a
half block away from my son's old elementary school, PS 9 (The Anderson
The old Dome Garden was a lovely and accessible community garden that served
the local neighborhood and the schools. My son remembers planting seeds
there for a science project. The Dome Garden was bulldozed during the early
nineties for low income housing that actually got built - these are not
"yuppie coops."  Real low income and working class people live in that
As part of the deal, an alternate space was found on the Brandeis High
School grounds. And...that  new Dome garden was actually built, but was used
sporadically as a school garden and not as a community garden. Many of the
original Dome Gardeners felt betrayed. This situation lasted for many years.
The previous NYC councilperson, Ronnie Eldridge, while progressive, was more
focused on other issues.  
The newly elected NYC Councilperson Gail Brewer, who lives a couple of
blocks away from the Dome Garden  listened.  Gale visited community gardens
in her district, the Clinton Community Garden in Councilperson Quinn's
district,  and was a sponsor of NYC Council Community Garden Intro 206.
Councilperson Gale Brewer also serves on the NYC Council's newly constituted
Park Committee. Before she was elected, Gale promised to do something about
the Dome garden....
Gail Brewer is persuasive and persistent - the attached press release is
unique. Thanks Gale.  Hope it sets a trend in this city!
 "Brandeis High School/Dome Garden - Saturday, November 16, 2002. 11 am - 3
pm, 84th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan ALL WELCOME to plant bulbs
and mingle with students and community residents. Refreshments include hot
cider and donuts. 
Thanks to a coalition (that we initiated) of Brandeis High School staff
members, Community Board 7, community groups, including the DOME Project,
and citywide horticulture (Horticulture Society), garden, parks, and museum
(American Museum of Natural History) nonprofits and government agencies, we
are working toward opening the garden on 84th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
The focus is the student at Brandeis High School and making the activity in
the garden fit his/her need to absorb science and to pass Regents. A new and
able science Assistant Principal is making it work. November 18 is a one-day
planting, and the program for students and the community will open in the
Spring. Meanwhile, on-going clean up is due to the hard work of members of
the Horticulture Society, Central Park Conservancy, and the Parks Dept."

Adam Honigman
Volunteer, Clinton Community Garden

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