Parks 2001 Union Square Rally Last Saturday September 8, 2001 - Gardeners Were In The House!
- Subject: [cg] Parks 2001 Union Square Rally Last Saturday September 8, 2001 - Gardeners Were In The House!
- From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
- Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 13:03:28 -0400
A special thanks to all of the grass roots community gardeners and garden
groups who participated in the Parks 2001 Union Square pre-primary rally
last Saturday, September 8, 2001!
Representatives from all the major garden & open space greening groups were
out there in the hot sun ( reps. from NOSC, More Gardens!, The Brooklyn
Coaliton, BUG, Green Guerillas, TPL, NY Restoration were there - we'd even
have had more if the American Community Gardening Association convention was
not happening last weekend in Salt Lake City!)
By my reckoning, of the crowd of 500 that greeted mayoral candidates Green,
Hevesi and Vallone (who came to sign the "1% for Parks" pledge and to
reaffirm their commitments to making NYC parks, recreation centers and
community gardens better) a good 350 were community gardeners from Brooklyn,
the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Anyone who came up on that platform could
not have but seen our garden signs and banners, heard our voices and felt
our spirit. Overwhelmingly, community gardeners were the Parks 2001 rally.
I loved the way Jon Crow distributed "Gardener's Vote" signs through the
crowd, taped them up on the podium, when they were removed, taped more,
helping to tell the politicians - and everyone who was involved with the
Parks 2001 movement - that gardeners were certainly in the house.
It felt good to hear from Councilperson Christine Quinn, a co-sponsor of
Intro 742/743 cheer gardens and parks and recreation centers on! Gifford
Miller ( another council co-sponsor of Intro 742/743, now working in the NYC
finance dept) was also a podium speaker.
The overwheming roar that came from the crowd when community gardens were
mentioned by name.
When an old activist came by and said that the community gardeners were the
"church ladies" of the Parks 2001 movement, i.e. the ones who got things
done and followed through.
When, at the beginning of the summer, Annie Chadwick, Faser Hardin and I
came to the table at the Manhattan Parks 2001 organizing sessions and
insisted that the Parks 2001 movement had to include the amazing force of
community gardens to be sucessful, we were initially faced with blank
stares, i.e. "Didn't Bette Middler save you?" However, these good Park's,
recreation center and sports team advocates were open to suggestions,
especially when we said, " how can any politician turn their back on 13,000
votes?" The example of the Brooklyn Parks advocacy group, which includes
activist community gardeners as the red hot center of the coalition helped
us convince Manhattan that community gardeners are political players.
As Parks 2001 organizer Tim Tompkins said at the Parks 2001/Clinton
Community Garden rally early last month, " Parks 2001 is whoever shows up
and does the work: if it's soccer moms, it's soccer moms, if it's community
gardeners - well that's the movement." With the Brooklyn Parks 2001 rally
organized by Jon Crow and others and our overwhelming presence at last
Saturday's Park's 2001 rally, community gardeners are now a key constituency
when any further discussions of Parks & Open Space occur in NYC.
Well... Green, Hevisi and Vallone showed up - Ferrer, Bloomberg and Badillo
didn't. All have made pro-parks statements on print and both Ferrer & Green
have made pro-garden public statements. None of them excite me, although I'm
wavering between Ferrer and Hevisi.
Of those in the NYC Advocate's race, Steve DiBrienza is a co-sponsor of
Intro-742/743 and signed the More Gardens community garden petition. Scott
Stringer did co-sponsor some NY Assembly community garden legislation ( see
the legislation button on the Clinton Community Garden website for details)
and Katherine Freed has been a strong community garden supporter. Betsy
Gotbaum, a former Parks Commissioner has not come out strongly for
community gardens although she signed the Parks 2001 pledge like all of the
NYC Advocate candidates listed above.
The most exciting thing about this race is the opportunity community
gardeners have to elect the Intro 742/743 Garden Bill sponsoring
Councilpersons Fisher and Carrion to the Borough Presidencies of Brooklyn
and the Bronx. With these two guys advocating for community gardens and
having an important say in this city's Universal Land Use Review Process (
ULURP), these are key votes that gardeners in Brooklyn and the Bronx have to
Vote on Tuesday!
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