NYers For Parks Report Card: SDR Park Received a “D”

Hello all,

We received a D on our ‘report card” from NYers for Parks. For all of you out there who ever got a “D” we understand!

However, it does give us some weight in terms of asking for help. Which we will do. I also want to remind folks that this grade, as is often true of grades, does not tell the whole story. NYers for Parks agreed heartily on this.

I wrote this recently in response to someone about our park. I’ll paraphrase:

“…The people of this neighborhood have been caring for this park and its people since 1982 when they rid it of drug dealers and pimps. They risked their lives doing it. We continue to care for it as we can with no money and volunteer help. If you walk through here you’ll often see an older African Heritage guy cleaning or organizing homeless people to help him. And they do. This park is surrounded by poor people and working families with little time to do the daily care that should be better funded. We have three major homeless providers here and no homes coming for their people. Parks has no real budget. Our Council Member has given us money to help throughout her tenure as has our Borough President. Some of it still waiting to be spent.
Check out our website for the Park and see what children, the homeless and a shitload of neighbors are doing.
If you haven’t been here cleaning up needles, dog shit, human feces, fighting for housing, fighting to reclaim Rivington House, fighting to get the Stanton Street park building back to the community, fighting Climate change/racism/sexism, fighting to get safe bike lanes installed, organizing Halloween/Juneteenth/Sukkot/Chinese Moon Festivals & music & art events, caring for Alzheimer’s inflicted neighbors, planting, raking, weeding, pruning, painting, caring for chickens and turtles and songbirds and caring for this place (for decades) we would welcome your help. It isn’t glamorous but you’ll find an amazing community here too. It will be good for you.

We love our park and our people. D’s and all.


Testimony from the Stanton Building Task Force during NYC Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee on Parks Department’s “Inaccessible Parks Buildings”

IMG_8311 IMG_8239

Below is Testimony from the Stanton Building Task Force during NYC Council’s Parks & Recreation Committee on Parks Department’s “Inaccessible Parks Buildings” December 1, 2016

There were many fascinating grounds and buildings spoken of that day. Including North Brother Island:

Below are  links to media coverage of the Stanton Building Task Force, NYCommons and neighborhood’s efforts (at the very very bottom of this page)!

Please also see: 596 Acres website for more testimony!



wendy-1stanton-inaccessibleparksbuilding-letter-brawer-12-16 wendy-2stanton-inaccessibleparksbuilding-letter-brawer-12-16

1sdr-12-2016-cchearing-inaccessible-bldg-copy 2sdr-12-2016-cchearing-inaccessible-bldg-copy 3sdr-12-2016-cchearing-inaccessible-bldg-copy


Articles listed on Stanton Building













Letter from Kirsti Bambridge our Outreach Coordinator from Partnerships for Parks (she’ll be around – she got a promotion!)


Dear Friends,

Please forgive the email – I’d much prefer to talk to you all individually but I also wanted to tell you sooner rather than later and ran out of time. I want to let you know that I have accepted a new position at Partnerships for Parks, as Director of Outreach and will now be based in the Arsenal office. So, it’s not a goodbye as I am still here, involved with parks in Manhattan and overseeing the Outreach team, but my role will change.

Your new Outreach Coordinator (and Senior Outreach Coordinator for Manhattan) will be Chris Yandoli. Chris is wonderful and been with Partnerships for 3 years and brings a wealth of experience of assisting park stewards and groups and has a great sense of humor! He also has a background in gardening and has worked on the High Line and for New York Restoration Project. Chris starts next week and will send an email to introduce himself soon.

Though I’m sure to still see many of you from time to time, I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and your parks over the past 7 years. It’s been a pleasure to meet such dedicated, enthusiastic and community minded people and help with the wonderful work you do. The involvement you have in organizing activities, beautifying gardens, utilizing resources and being advocates/community leaders for your parks makes a big difference to improving your community. I was new to NYC when I started the job and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to get to know the city through working with you and benefitting from your knowledge, experience and suggestions. I’ve made many friends and had such fun times and conversations and I look forward to many more of them!

So you are aware, we are currently short two outreach coordinators in Manhattan, though we hope to fill these positions soon in the new year. Please bear in mind that we will be stretched thin with less capacity until we fill these positions, as we do our best to help accommodate the entire borough. We appreciate your understanding. Below is a reminder of useful contact numbers for Parks/PFP staff who are also able to help with certain enquiries and issues.


For any park related questions and concerns:

Parks Manager for Districts 3 (community board 3) Terese Flores – 917 416 3205

Office for Districts 3, Park Supervisors- 212 219 0258


For Partnerships for Parks Capacity Grants enquiries:  Lindsay Sierra | Grants and Resource Coordinator  212.602.5349 | LSierra@cityparksfoundation.org

For Partnerships Academy Workshops:  Gloria L. Tate | Technical Assistance Coordinator for Leadership and Group Development 212.602.5342 | GTate@cityparksfoundation.org

Partnerships for Parks newsletter: it may be helpful to sign up for this if you don’t already receive it: CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Partnerships For Parks citywide e-newsletter


Thank you all again for your work and I hope to catch up with you soon.


 Thank YOU Kirsti!


March for Immigrant NY & one action you can take right now (from ACLU)



From ACLU (non-partisan)


This program is not only discriminatory and dangerous – it’s completely ineffective as a security measure.

In its nearly ten years of operation, NSEERS did not produce a single terrorism conviction. Even Homeland Security’s Inspector General – the DHS watchdog – said the program was unreliable and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

At any time, any US President can reactivate the dormant NSEERS program with the flip of a switch – unless the current President Obama takes action now. Please sign petition.

The NSEERS “special” registration system was put in place by President George W. Bush in the aftermath of 9/11.

President Obama discontinued NSEERS in 2011 but left the regulatory framework on the books, ready to be reactivated at any time. If the Obama administration rescinds the regulation now, that will terminate the program, leaving nothing for the next administration to reactivate.


Rivington House: one year later


Two items:

A Wall Street Journal  report:” Chinese Developers Reassess U.S. Projects: Headwinds emerge as Beijing plans to tighten rules on investment capital leaving the country “

The neighborhood is NOT ‘confident’ that this proposed “luxury project is a great addition to LES”.

Particularly those who need this facility right now: the elderly & others in desperate need of 24/7 skilled care.

And particularly those who called this AIDS nursing facility their home.

And particularly those almost 300 1199 workers who devoted their work lives to this place/these residents.

We miss our neighbors. We miss being the community that welcomed those living with AIDS/HIV especially in this week of honoring that struggle.



“In New York, Shenzhen-based China Vanke Co. faced a setback earlier this year after a joint venture with two local developers, Slate Property Group and Adam America Real Estate, to build luxury apartments on 45 Rivington St. stalled.
The consortium in February paid $116 million for the project to Allure Group, which had managed to remove a controversial deed restriction that would have allowed the former nonprofit nursing home to be converted into for-profit apartments.
An outcry over the transaction prompted investigations by the New York City comptroller, Department of Investigation, federal prosecutors and the state attorney general into the circumstances that led to the deed change.
The project is now at a standstill. “There are a number of complications that could arise in any development project… said Kai-yan Lee, managing director at Vanke Holdings U.S.A.
The joint venture investors said they look forward to moving ahead as soon as the city concludes its review. “We have every confidence that the project will be a great addition to the Lower East Side community,” said a representative for the joint venture, Rivington Street Investors.”

IMG_8221 (1)

And from the Lo-Down (who broke the story) One Year Ago Today:

“Rivington Street Nursing Center Closes Next Week; Relocation Anticipated”


From Winston Churchill (who knew a thing or two about so-called ‘hopeless battles”):

“Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense”

“The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem”


Urban Soil Symposium, Resources for Chinatown & LES, oppose nuke plants subsidies,

1) Urban soils symposium on Dec 9th at Brooklyn College.

The symposium is for discussion about all the aspects of soils in the city seeking out problems and solutions! There will be a variety of presenters-from technical and non-technical backgrounds. Two roundtables: one for compost, and one for greenroof soils. Registration and information can be found here

 2) Resources for Chinatown & LES residents  – Man. Borough Presidents Office:

– Know your rights trainings to community members on how to get repairs (flyers below)

– 2017 tax filing updates (12/17, 1/21, 2/18) at VNSNY located at 7 Mott Street. (flyers below)

– Flyers for the Chinatown Community Center Open House on 12/14 at VNSNY. (flyers below)

– Know Your Rights “ICE Home Raids & Community Arrests” Immigrant Defense Project

3) Rally to oppose multi-billion plan to subsidize upstate nuclear plants.

home-raid-community-flyer_simplified-mandarin home-raid-community-flyer_traditional-mandarin 2016-ccc_open-house_chinese-version_final 2016-ccc_open-house_english-version_final


Thanksgiving Morning: Honoring Standing Rock at the National Museum of American Indian


Standing Rock:

From Wendy: 

With all that’s at stake right now, and to honor the courage of the Native people protecting the waters,

Let’s meet in front of the National American Indian Museum at 10:30am on Thanksgiving (it opens at 10am, 1 Bowling Green)

We’ll walk over to the Labyrinth of Peace which is inside Battery Park, in the green section just north of the round Clinton Castle. Give Thanks. 

We can go on our way by 1130 or return to see the Museum’s exhibitions. Let’s contribute, call and reach out, as described here, too. 

Villager article: Return of Stanton Street Building to Neighborhood Use?

img_7557 img_7903

Villager: “‘Father of LEED’ hopes to help spark LES Park building’s return to use

BY DENNIS LYNCH “ …A coalition of local stakeholders want the Parks and Recreation Department to make good on a promise it made almost 20 years ago to reopen the former recreation center that the agency has used as an operations facility since the 1980s….

“Everybody around would like to see it used…whether it’s a place for homeless people to come and get their bearings, a resiliency center or a general community center. Any use would be better than what it is now….”

Advocates recently gained a valuable ally and colleague in Robert Watson, a leading environmental scientist. Watson, often called the “Father of LEED” (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for helping found the green-building certification program, became involved with the park and visits weekly to help garden. He pushed state Senator Daniel Squadron to support the project at the senator’s town hall earlier this month…”

Photos: Squadron, other electeds & Communities’ Rally Against Hate in Adam Yauch Park


We sang “The Star Spangled Banner”

As one dad said to his son: “We may not see your friends here – but everyone here is your friend”

What better antidote to the questions parents have been asked this week?

A few thousand came to be reminded of the power of ‘us’.

It is, after all, our country too. We are going to claim it in ways we may never have imagined.


Hawks, Rivington House, New Forsyth Conservancy Garden, M’Finda Garden

Hawk sitings in SDR Park, Gardens’ last bursts of color, fall trees, sky & friends.

Rivington House: windows left open cause for concern and graffitied statement.