Save Siempre Verde Garden: Another LES Community Garden Threatened with Development (UPDATED)

Real estate developers want to build luxury apartments on top of Siempre Verde Garden, the Lower East Side’s youngest member of Green Thumb NYC’s community.  Please do what you can to help stop this from happening.

Photo from Siempre Verde Facebook page








Siempre Verde Garden is located on the corner of Stanton and Attorney Streets in the Lower East Side and is being threatened by new 16-unit residential luxury development proposed by New York City’s Housing Preservation and Development.  Siempre Verde Garden was created by the community in the 1980’s, and renewed in the summer of 2012, when a diverse group of volunteers began transforming two rubble-strewn city-owned lots into an oasis where neighbors, children, plants, trees, birds and bees congregate. New foliage, plants and raised garden beds were put in. With the support of GreenThumb NYC and the unanimous support of Community Board 3, Siempre Verde was given a community garden license in November 2012.

Since then, gardeners have grown and harvested many pounds of tomatoes, greens, herbs and other vegetables and shared them with neighbors. The garden has held over 70 community workshops and events, including worm composting, children’s story time, art, music & yoga workshops. Siempre Verde intends on doing everything it can to continue to operate as a garden and serve its community.

On Tuesday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m., Community Board 3, Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee is holding a hearing about the issue. Siempre Garden is calling on community members to join them there to make all voices heard. You can also sign a petition here.

Siempre Verde is one of several gardens in New York City in the past two years to be threatened by or lost to developers. For example, gardeners at Children’s Magical Garden at Norfolk and Stanton Streets woke up one morning in May 2013 to find a portion of their garden destroyed and a fence barring them from access installed.  This January, Coney Island gardeners woke up to a similar fate to find their 70,000 square foot, 40 plot Boardwalk Garden bulldozed without warning after 16 years of active gardening. Both gardens are in court trying to stop development from going forward. And the longtime LaGuardia Garden won an important, if only temporary, legal victory in its fight against NYU’s plan to develop the garden that has existed for over 35 years. The city has appealed and the garden still faces threat of development, and its fight continues, including a recent rally that including the acclaimed East Village based performers, STOMP.

Here’s How You Can Help Save Siempre Garden

1. Sign and share the petition to save SVG with your community.
2. Come in person to the community board on the 14th to show support. Respond to the facebook invite here.
4. Follow @SVGarden on Twitter and retweet their feed with hashtag #savesvg to increase awareness

Photo from Siempre Verde Facebook page

October 14, 2014 Update:

NYC Foodscape attended the Tuesday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m., Community Board 3, Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee hearing and Siempre Verde wins! (for the moment). Here’s the summary of the CB3 vote from Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGS):

The Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee of Community Board 3 voted to not agree to a developer and HPD’s plans to build a 16 unit apartment building on the garden site.

The committee’s resolution will now go before the entire CB, rescinded vote two and a half years ago that supported the project. Since that vote Siempre Verde Garden was founded and has become an integral part of the neighborhood.The development proposal by developer William Gottlieb and HPD had NYC give the developer two city owned lots, which are now in fact, Siempre Verde Garden, in exchange for three affordable apartment units in the building. Many gardeners came out in support of Siempre Verde at this meeting. The Committee was very sympathetic to community concerns and voted accordingly. Great News!

For more details about the hearing, see “CB3’s Land Use Committee Backs Siempre Verde Garden Against Development Plan,” on Lo-Down.

Since then, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver came out in support of Siempre Verde, saying, ‘[t]he Siempre Verde Garden is a vital green space that is enjoyed by so many of our neighbors. Here on the Lower East Side, public parks and gardens are at a premium and we cannot afford to lose this important community treasure. I urge the city to transfer this land to Parks Department so that it can be made a permanent community garden now and into the future.”

A hearing before CB3’s Parks Committee to consider a request to transfer Siempre Verde to the purview of the New York City Parks Department for preservation under the Green Thumb program was scheduled for Thursday, November 13, 2014. The Parks Committee passed a resolution recommending this transfer and the resolution now goes before the full community board on Tuesday, November 25, at 6:30 p.m. at P.S. 20, 166 Essex Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *