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Last Saturdays Clinton Community Garden Fireman's Benefit Concert.

  • Subject: [cg] Last Saturdays Clinton Community Garden Fireman's Benefit Concert.
  • From: "Honigman, Adam" <Adam.Honigman@Bowne.com>
  • Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 18:39:13 -0400

 Last Saturday evening, between 6-9pm,  the Clinton Community Garden ran a
benefit for three local Hell's Kitchen firehouses conjunction with ONE4, a
local club band with a very big heart. These fine musicians,  who had
originally planned a small neighborhood concert in our garden before the
World Trade Center disaster,  donated their services and created the
soundtrack for an outstanding event. We cannot thank them enough. All funds
raised went directly to the firemen's widows and orphans. I'm pleased that
with your help,  the Clinton Communty Garden was able to raise a respectable
amount for each of the tree firehouses. We love these guys, and with the
lousy wiring in many of our tenement buildings, many of us in the
neighborhood are alive today because of now departed firemen who shared
their oxygen masks with us.
Our  Hell's Kitchen Firehouses are: 
Rescue 1 on West 43rd Street, 
Engine 54, Ladder 4, 9th Battalion on West 48th Street and 8th Avenue ( the
house that I wrote to you about) 
Ladder 21, 7th Battalion on West 38th Street 
Between all three houses, 57 are officially counted among the dead and
Annie Chadwick, our garden chairperson whom many of you know for her amazing
work on the Parks 2001 campaign as a lecturer on herbs,  coordinated the
event which quickly morphed into an event where US Congressman Jerrold
Nadler, City Councilperson Christine Quinn and NY State Assemblyman Richard
Gottfried ( friend of community gardens all) spoke and gave the event a
considerable amount of gravitas. Our speakers included a psychologist who
works with the survivors of state terrorism in Central America, the daughter
of Mr.  Klinghoffer, the wheelchair bound grandfather  who was killed in the
Achille Lauro highjacking during the early 80's and neighborhood friends.
The garden, still blooming with perennials, mumms, dahlias, a beehive filled
with honey and the lush green fullness of harvest time was wall-to-wall with
candle holding gardeners,  neighborhood residents and well wishing  friends
from all over. This memorial had to be the largest sized event that we've
ever hosted and the least difficult to manage. We had to have had at least
500 people here, holding candles. 
City Councilperson Quinn really set the tone for the event when  said, "
It's wonderful when folks show up right after a tragedy like this, but it's
maintaining the support three months, a year after that really is needed.
When I stopped by Engine 54 to offer whatever assistance my office could
provide, the lieutenant took me aside and asked how, I was feeling and what
he could do to help me. He was seriously concerned at what the enormity of
the week had done to a member of the city council, entrusted to help keep
things going. Now, my father is a retired fireman, it's just the way they
are, being there for us...always. I'm glad we're all here for our firemen
tonight.  We just have to continue doing that, saying thank you, being there
for them and their families. 
We were honored, during the course of the concert to have volunteer firemen
from all over the country speak to us ( Sacramento, Northern Virginia - when
D.C. said it was OK, they flew up to work the bucket brigade search, Boston
and others). A relative of one of the volunteers lives on the garden block.
Bone tired from moving rock and sorting remains, they washed up and showed.
We had some German and Japanese media crews in the house ( bigger events
were elsewhere and the NY media was covering them, rightfully so) who showed
our best face to the world.
The highlights of the evening:
We were visited by truck from all three houses, who received cheers from all
of us that you must have heard all over New York and the country. Each time,
it was like Muhammad Ali, at the peak of his career walking into the ring.
Our heroes, our family. Words cannot express what we all felt, the cheers,
and the dead silence when any of the firemen came up to the mike to speak. 
Follow-up:The Clinton Communty Garden is committed to deepening our
relationships with all three organizations, i.e visits when all the parades
stop 3 months, 6months a year from now, when it's even more important that
the grieving know that there are folks who care. A sharing of a pie, garden
honey and fresh grown garden produce with a visit are neighborly under
ordinary circumstances - under present conditions, simple gestures like
these are even more helpful.
All of the firemen are being given garden keys with the understanding that
our garden is now their backyard away from home ( most live out of the
Clinton Community Garden's immediate neighborhood. Who better to welcome
into our garden community?
Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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