Tenement Museum Staffers revive the Forsyth Garden Conservancy south of Delancey in Sara Roosevelt Park

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Despite the many hours put in by Park workers and volunteers from M’Finda Kalunga and Elizabeth Hubbard Memorial Gardens to keep it in good shape this area of the Park has resisted efforts to maintain it in good shape.

Now a chance at reclaiming this part of Sara Roosevelt Park with a committed group of volunteers from the Tenement Museum. They will continue the work until we’ve rebuilt and reclaimed the former beauty of the Forsyth Garden Conservancy plots.

Thanks to Park Manager Terese Flores and the work of the original builders of this GreenThumb Garden since the early 80’s.

Volunteers from the Chinatown Y also dropped by to lend a hand!

Much thanks to everyone and a few before and after photos!



The Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice

We are women and girls of all ages, in all our diversity, from every region of the world;

We are gravely concerned about the lack of just and sufficient action on climate change by the world’s leaders;

We are concerned about the increasing number of disastrous mega storms  that are killing people, eradicating species, and destroying ecosystems and livelihoods;

We are concerned about sea-level rise and disappearing land masses, in addition to the serious environmental and human casualties caused by  droughts, desertification, ocean acidification, water salination, crop failures, air pollution, oil spills, plastics and other pollution, glacier melt, record warm summers and cold winters, and out-of-season cyclones and tsunamis;

We are concerned about all women and the communities and environments in which we live, including those of us from indigenous lands and oceanic societies who have contributed the least to climate disruption but who are suffering the greatest impacts first and most intensely;

We refuse to allow corporate control of our planet, our rights, or sanction a world that prioritizes growth and greed over human rights, decent and equal work, healthy ecosystems and a just distribution of wealth;

We are concerned that governments of the world are moving too slowly, with too little effort, and without the ambition, commitment or financing that it will take to stop and reverse our global climate crisis;

And we are stunned, upset and outraged that our future, and the future of our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and of all living beings and ecosystems is being abandoned for short-term self-interest and a lack of vision, leadership, and political will;

Finally and critically, as women and girls, we are not only facing severe impacts, but we are central to the implementation of real solutions that produce real results.

Women must be full and equal partners in the fight to combat global climate chaos!

Women of the world have had enough. The time for urgent action is Now.

We are speaking Truth to Power. We Demand Change.

Together, we are creating a mass movement for climate justice and pledge to take action. Together we call on all women, all girls and all of our allies to join us in this pledge, to join our Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice and our 2015 Campaign of six actions, on six themes, over six months towards the UN Climate Meeting this December in Paris.

Women and girls will express our concerns and deliver our demands for meaningful and just action on climate change at every level and in all possible arenas – local, regional, national and global.

We will take action everywhere – in our homes, neighborhoods, village squares, agricultural gardens, fishing grounds, sacred places, worship sites, community organizations, workplaces and schools.

We will make our presence known at our Parliaments, embassies and local government buildings; in corporate headquarters of carbon polluters and energy companies; at the ballot box, in the news media, on social media, and at the front doors of ALL those with the power to change the trajectory of climate injustice.

We will talk, sing, shout, stand, and sit.  We will lobby, hold vigils, protest, blockade, and barricade. We will take action in the smallest villages, the largest cities, the highest mountains, in the oceans, and at the UN Climate Conference in Paris, France.

Representing women in every region of the world, we call for:

  • System change not climate change

  • Avoiding a 1.5 degree global temperature rise

  • Ensuring gender equality and human rights in all climate actions

  • Keeping oil and fossil fuels in the ground

  • Transitioning to 100% safe and renewable energy

  • Implementing energy efficiency and conservation measures everywhere, by everyone

  • Dramatic and urgent reduction in production and consumption patterns by everyone, including and especially by those who have contributed the most to this problem from the developed world

  • Commitment by developed countries to take the lead in the fight to address the climate crisis and to provide developing countries with the means to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in a spirit of solidarity and justice.

    We do not give up on our beautiful planet. We do not give up on a future for every species.

We will never give up on our campaign for climate justice.


We invite you to endorse our pledge – The Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice – and join this campaign by women and girls of all ages, in all their diversity, with the support of all communities, and in all regions, to take action in 2015 with these monthly themes as inspiration:


We demand energy justice: decentralized and community-owned energy systems that reflect the needs and priorities of all people and are safe, affordable, and socially, economically and environmentally sound. We want an end to fossil fuels, nuclear power, mega dams, geo-engineering, and other high-risk technologies.

We will have a world of 100% renewables.

August – ECONOMY

We know our current economic models drive climate chaos and injustice through the promotion of growth outside the limits of our planetary boundaries. We have created an unsustainable economic system with global inequality and concentrated wealth that drives the climate crisis. The least developed countries and people living in poverty bear the greatest brunt of climate change, for which industrialized countries are mostly responsible. We need to change the system. To that end, we need trade justice, sustainable consumption patterns and economies of care. We need to equitably share wealth, resource and power and immediately divest from fossil fuel investments, toxic extraction industries, and all unsustainable production. We will change the system.

September- SOLUTIONS

Solutions for a more just world already exist. From advancing gender equality to ending inequalities and human rights violations.  From alternative energy, agro-ecology, marine and land reserves to changing behaviors and consumption patterns.  From innovating policies in cities and urban areas and to educating for sustainable development.  From just adaptation and mitigation strategies to seriously addressing loss and damage from climate chaos.

A better world is in our midst and women and girls are central to designing and implementing the solutions that will sustain it.

In fact, they are already doing so.


We already see the impacts of climate change happening around the world, primarily impacting peoples from the global South, with ever-worsening impacts on women’s lives, livelihoods and communities. Climate change is an issue of survival for humans and other species. For some island nations, it is about their very right to exist.

Climate chaos challenges sovereignty, clean and accessible water and sewage, clean air, healthy forests, land and oceans and biodiversity.

For women of the world, climate justice is about the survival and dignity of all- nothing less is acceptable.

November- POWER

It is time to reclaim our power — in our commons, our governments, our health, our food, our energy, our land, our oceans, and our world. We will showcase the power of collective action, of women and girls, and of peoples’ movements over the power of corporate interests. We will tell the truth about polluting industries and challenge the corporations and governments that are driving climate chaos.

Women of the world will speak truth to power.


We have called on you to act, and now, we call on you to join the global march for climate justice. Join concerned women all over the world and participate in mass actions in Paris during the UN Climate Meeting and/or create your own local action wherever you are in the world on November 29, December 12 and the two weeks in between.

Together, hundreds of thousands, in fact, millions of us will call for

System change not climate change!

 For ecological repair. For human rights.

For climate justice. For economic justice.

For gender justice. For a better and just world. For Peace.

In your country’s capital.  In your house, village, township or city.

From wherever you are. Organize! Mobilize! Resist!

Join the Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice.


Here’s some suggested actions you can take to support the

Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice!

This global campaign is aimed at providing a framework for mobilization, but actions and activities can be designed to fit your local, national and regional contexts. Examples of what you can do include:

  • Endorse the ‘Call’ and share it with your organization, contacts, friends, and with local and national media

  • Plan a march or rally in your city or community

  • Write an article on women’s experiences of climate change for your national or local newspaper

  • Develop a national pledge for the actions/themes you will undertake in the lead-up to Paris

  • Write and release a publication corresponding to one or more of the monthly themes

  • Host an event/webinar or teach-in

  • Go on a local radio program to raise awareness on the issues

  • Stage a protest or ‘sit-in’ at the headquarters of a corporation or industry with unsustainable practices

  • Develop a policy brief for your national government to bring new legislation on gender and climate change and to improve their policy positions at the UN Climate meetings.

  • Attend international meetings as a policy advocate for women’s rights issues in climate policy

  • Host an art exhibit to showcase the impacts of, or solutions to, climate chaos

  • Organize training program on renewable energy solutions for your local community

This is only a partial list of suggestions.  Please feel free to be creative and design your own actions!

And, don’t forget to share your activities with the Women’s Global Call for Climate Justice.

Upload them to our collective website (coming soon) to help amplify our collective work and movement building!

CAAAV: Take Back Chinatown Event

Take Back Chinatown! Community Education Event, 8/2

When: Sunday, August 2 from 2PM – 5PM

Where: Sara D. Roosevelt Park (Hester St. between Chrystie St. & Forsyth St.)


“Chinatown has lost 15,000 units of affordable housing in the last 10 years. This number is increasing every year, with thousands of units converted into luxury apartments, art galleries, and storefronts for artisanal coffee.

Join CAAAV on Sunday, August 2 for our Community Education Event in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Hester Street. We will engage the community on efforts to take back Chinatown, to make affordable housing truly affordable. Activities include a community speak-out from the residents themselves, an interactive map of Chinatown, trivia on Chinatown’s history of activism, and a gentrification tour!”take back chinatown community education event 7.31.15

Job Expo Tomorrow Night

Job Expo Thursday Night July 30th at 4pm – 7pm

80 Pitt Street

Entrance on Rivington

From GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) website:

Job Training Expo (Lower East Side Employment Network)

When: Thu. July 30, 4pm – 7pm
Where: 80 Pitt St, New York, NY 10002, USA (map)
Description: Jump star your career on the Lower East Side. Connect with training and employment opportunities in building maintenance, construction, healthcare, retail, hospitality/hotels and other industries.

LES Employment Network

FABnyc Load out


Load OUT!

Bi-annual Reuse & Repurposing Riot

Saturday, September 12th
11 E. 3rd Street
11 am – 2 pm

Helping artists recycle since 2011 

Join FABnyc for their 9th Load OUT! event! All arts and cultural groups, non-profits, and community members are invited to donate sets, costumes, props and office equipment they no longer need, to be made available to other artists & students.

Admission: FREE for artists, students, or with usable pairs of shoes. $5 for general public.

They will be collecting your gently used materials (including, clothing, props, costumes, vintage lunch boxes, etc.) on Friday, September 11th BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. For larger donations, please contact Anna Adler at anna@fabnyc.org to schedule a drop-off time.

They will also be taking smaller donations on September 12th between 10 am and 11 am. For more information!


Early Sara Roosevelt Park photo


Chair of NYC Council parks committee wants Trump contracts terminated

Donald Trump is the owner of four concessions in New York City parks-including both ice rinks in Central Park and a high-end golf course in the Bronx.  The chair of the City Council Parks Committee Mark Levine said:

“Our parks are public spaces where everyone should feel welcome and an association with Mr. Trump directly contradicts this spirit.”

“Trump’s racist remarks about Mexicans and immigrants were outrageous … and he ignores the facts: evidence shows that there’s no correlation between immigrants and violent crime...

Our parks are for everyone. Trump’s continued ownership of parks concessions runs directly contrary to that spirit. Sign our petition to add your name to those demanding that our city immediately end its association with Trump’s businesses.”

Citizen’s for NYC brings Ralph Lauren volunteers to the Garden

It was a very dramatic shift in the M’Finda Kalunga Garden after volunteers from Ralph Lauren came to add their weight to the Garden’s extensive  history of stewarding this beautiful oasis.

We are very thankful to the individuals who came with their hands, hearts and minds ready to help out. Each person was a gem.

And many thanks to M’Finda Kalunga Gardener’s Larry and Steve who helped K supervise for the Garden.

Some before photos:


And some during and after photos:


And some good news re: stopping privatization of public lands and parks

The State Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled that Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in Queens could not be sold off for a mall…yet.

Because it is parkland, the Court ruled last week that it ” could not be taken as a development site  for a one-million-square-foot shopping mall simply because the administration of former Mayor… Bloomberg said it could.

The court’s decision brings a halt — at least temporarily — to what has seemed like the relentless commercial appropriation of public land in New York City, often under the rationale that private profit is the only way the people can have nice things.”

See full NYTimes article:

De Blasio’s Dilemma: Fight for a Mall Near Citi Field or Disavow It

Driving Out Manhattan’s Only Riding Facility for poor children?

Hi all,

Please read about this issue re: the NY Riding Academy which is operated free of charge for all children but particularly available to give an opportunity to the children of limited financial means in Harlem and East Harlem. Dr. Blair is African American retiree who cleared this area thirty years ago and operates this out of his own pocket- but is apparently being pushed out to make way for a playground and bike station on Randall’s Island.

Could DNAinfo have gotten it wrong (article below)…?

Because I cannot imagine in this first year of the UN’s Decade for People of African Descent and given all that has been in the news vis a vis the outright targeting of African Heritage children that this lovely gift to all children, but in particular to African Heritage children, would be targeted for removal.

Most children do not have homes in the country where horseback riding nearby is an option, don’t have the money to take lessons in private stables. Why destroy the chance for any child to have this unique experience – especially, especially when it costs the city nothing? Especially when the person driving this for 30 years has been a  powerful role model of generosity and caring for all communities. Especially when it serves a children who are struggling against the odds.

Feel free to write to Parks Department expressing your views – I’m still holding out that this must be an error in reporting. 


Baladine's B'day Ponyrides 2004 - 6Pony rides in SDR Park (long ago!)

“Dr. Blair was furious that the Parks Department would take over land used to provide free services to children in order to store bike rentals that local children can’t afford and the park profits from, he said.”

from the article (see website for full story)


By Gustavo Solis | July 9, 2015 8:31am @journogoose

RANDALLS ISLAND — The man who created Harlem’s Black Rodeo is squaring off against the Parks Department in a land dispute that may shut down Manhattan’s only horseback riding facility. Dr. George Blair, 83, who started the New York Riding Academy in 1988, claims he is being pushed out of his stables on Randall’s Island by the Parks Department, which has appropriated part of the land he uses and plans to build a playground there. He has been allowed to use that land as part of a government agreement dating back to Gov. Mario Cuomo to promote horse riding in underserved communities and offer free lessons to kids from Harlem and East Harlem, Blair said.

“It was a complete dump,” he said, “There were cars, glass, trash, everything that you’d see in a junk yard. We agreed to clean the dump and turn it into a place where children for Harlem and East Harlem can learn to ride for free.”

It took him and his wife about five years and several hundred thousand dollars to clear the space just north of the 103rd Street footbridge and convert it into a stable. For the last 30 years he has kept up his end of the agreement with New York by offering free lessons to local children….

…Dr. Blair has been promoting horses since the 1970’s, when he organized the Black Rodeo on 150th Street and Seventh Avenue. The event inspired a documentary featuring Muhammad Ali and Black Rodeos across the country. Mayor Ed Koch called it “one of the two most outstanding outdoor events in New York City,” second only to the marathon, Sports Illustrated wrote in 1988.

In Randall’s Island they have Governor’s Ball, the FarmBorough Country Music Festival, and Frieze Art Fair. They also have a golf course and tennis centers that are not free to the public. Even the softball and soccer fields require a permit, he said.

“Most of these kids would probably never ride a horse,” Ann Blair said. “They would probably never see a horse this close again in their life.”