Jim and Jordon Pender at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden memorial and in Adam Purple’s Garden of Eden

Jim, founding member of the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden, and his daughter Jordon who grew up in M’Finda Kalunga and in Adam Purple’s Garden of Eden. Jordon now works with Partnerships for Parks as the Director of the Technical Assistance Program.

Then and now:

Jordon Jim

Partnerships for Parks Academy – Park leaders Fellowship Graduation

Last night at the Arsenal Partnerships for Parks: Certificates were awarded (mentors were as much mentored as ‘mentees’)-Speakers:

Heather Lubov- City Parks Foundation Executive Director, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Sabina Saragoussi, Director of Partnerships for Parks and Leah Worrel Technical Assistance Manager, Parks Foundation

Marie Winfield of Friends of Thomas Jefferson Park (Sara Roosevelt’s sister park in East Harlem) –  gave the talk on behalf of participants:

“Good evening park advocates, Commissioner Silver, Executive Director Lubov, Leah and Nicolas, and all of the Parks and Partnership staff who have made the Leadership Academy possible. I’m very happy to speak on behalf of this year’s Leadership Academy participants and as a community member of East Harlem. Before applying to the Leadership Academy, working closely together with Mia Hernandez, we put together a report including a list of priorities and how we thought Thomas Jefferson Park could improve. At the top of that list was simply a cleaner park: a desire to make the park usable in the mornings and evenings again for families, seniors, children during warm season weekends – which was most often characterized by unmanageable trash. I just walked through the park this afternoon with my kids and the difference is really staggering from before the Academy and now that it has ended.

In that time, we had a community meeting with our borough commissioner, park manager, the City Council Speaker’s office, which brought forth a new summer maintenance plan with suggestions from community members. We did regular observations – most thanks goes to our dog walkers in the park – and solicited feedback from the community both at events and online. We hope to meet again as a community with Parks, the Speaker’s office, to make sure that out park only continues to improve.

It has been great to have the resources of the Leadership Academy – really useful presentations and workshops, hearing about other park advocacy groups from all over the city and how they are succeeding, and to have the most amazing mentor – K Webster from the Sara D Roosevelt Park Coalition – and now what we consider a sister park to Tom Jeff. Most useful – was simply to have dedicated time each month, a reason to sit down and revise a mission statement, to really step back and take a look at my community and the park – a community going through gentrification, which is targeted for rezoning, with a high needs for social services – and to focus on what park advocacy really means in that context and the most effective ways to proceed and reach out to our community.

One of the greatest things about this program was being able to take back information to other community members – when we had a workshop on ioby, I took that information back to a local community garden to a member there who started fiddling around to see how it worked, and that same time revised a budget that we worked together on for participatory budgeting. When the call for Parks Equity funding came out, we were able to get a proposal together to the City Council Speaker’s office which then qualified them for a grant from Green Thumb dedicated to East Harlem Community Gardens.

It has been great to hear the many successes of the other park groups during the Leadership Academy and to look at my park through a new lens. I really can only encourage other park advocates in the room and in your communities to make use of the Leadership Academy, if you have a project you have been stalling on or need inspiration for a new project – you will have a great place here with the support and resources to see it through. Thank you again to everyone who made this program possible, good luck to all of the new applicants for the next cohort, and I hope to see you soon at Thomas Jefferson Park.”

Four Way Books Fundraiser: Reading from “The Names of Birds” by Daniel Wolf

The Literary Review:  Daniel Wolff …in his new poetry collection, The Names of Birds published by Four Way Books

“…On the surface, the collection appears to offer a meditation on the natural world through a series of poems based on, and named for, birds. The poems do take place in nature, as the narrators observe birds in an unnamed and isolated environment; dig a little bit deeper, however, and Wolff reveals a larger concern for questions related to life, loss, and the inevitability of change. He shows us that experience is not meant to be easily defined.”

(sold out but the book is available)


Why is there a Police Tower again in SDR Park?

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Usually, these appear when there has been a violent crime in the area. Otherwise, it can be viewed as attempting to intimidate members of the public who use the park.

If the issue is drug use in the park, let’s do something that is effective and humane? Much preferable is increased homeless outreach workers and foot patrol police who know our neighborhood. Open and staff bathrooms 24/7 in order for park users or those who have no homes can safely and sanitarily access bathrooms. Do we need a UN proclamation on the right to sanitation in NYC?

And get 24/7 security for the Broome Street building (Parks Department staffs the building 24/7 for the 5 Borough Alarm system which our park hosts for all of NYC).

Deutsche Bank Volunteers prepare the ground for Horticultural Society and IS 131 Student Garden

Deutsche Bank volunteers led by Alan Mays braved the forecasts of rain to weed, rake, clean up and generally prepare the site of one of the gardens plots in front of the BRC Senior Center. It will be gardened with the guidance of the Horticultural Society and Emma Lazarus High School.

Council Member Chin allocated $6,000 through the Parks Department to support Gardening by Emma Lazarus High School students and the Horticultural Society. They will also help out the Elizabeth Hubbard Memorial Garden (EHMG) working with Bob Humber the coordinator of EHMG.

Council Member Chin also allocated $15,000 to the Horticultural Society for Bogardus Plaza as part of the Council’s FY16 Cleanup Initiative funding.

Bike info in the Rivington Playground, Parks Department fixes wooden benches, Ohio Women’s organization in Elizabeth Hubbard Garden

Thanks to Transportation Alternatives Ollie and company for handing out bike information in appropriate languages! And for blowing gigantic bubbles!

Thank you Park’s Department staff for fixing wooden benches in the M’Finda Garden.

And thank you to the Ohio Women’s Group that helped out in the Elizabeth Hubbard Memorial Garden and the M’Finda Kalunga Garden this past weekend.

Adam Purple memorial tomorrow Saturday September 26th – 4pm to 8pm

From the Lo-Dowon

Join in remembering Adam Purple, legendary environmentalist at La Plaza community garden on Saturday, September 26th from 4pm-8pm. People are invited to speak and briefly share their memories of the famed gardens godfather of the Lower East Side and his legendary eARThWORK, ‘The Garden of Eden.’  Everyone is encouraged to wear purple and to bring a white t-shirt to tie-dye.

Two Events this Fall!

Voter Registration with Chinese Progressive Association!

  • Did you know that National Voter Registration Day was this past week?
  • Interested in voting in next year’s Presidential elections?
  • The Chinese Progressive Association invites you to learn more and register to vote this Saturday!
  • When: Saturday, September 26, 2015, 1:00pm-4:00pm
  • Where: M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden (inside Sara D. Roosevelt Park)  (Rivington Street (between Forsythe and Chrystie Street)
  • For more information contact the Chinese Progressive Association at 212-274-1891 or cpanyc@cpanyc.org

University Settlement Planning for the next 10 years!

Take our online survey 

Tell University Settlement what you want for the next 10 years (anyone who takes the survey has a chance to win prizes from local businesses)

A community conversation event:

Saturday, October 3, from 2-4 p.m.
The Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery (on the corner of Bowery and Houston)
Refreshments will be served

RSVP online or by emailing houstonstreetcenter@universitysettlement.org


Drop by and say hello! fitness, language, and swimming classes –  creative arts classes for older adults and free after-school – something for everyone in the family.

The Houston Street Center is a part of University Settlement, which has been empowering neighborhoods and communities for more than 100 years.

Adam Purple and The Garden of Eden – RIP Adam Purple

“In 1975, on the crime-ridden Lower East Side, Adam Purple started a garden behind his tenement home. By 1986, The Garden of Eden was world famous and had grown to 15,000 square feet. For Adam – a social activist, philosopher, artist, and revolutionary – the Garden was the medium of his political and artistic expression. It was razed by the city in 1986 after a protracted court battle. This film documents the creation of this artwork and its ultimate destruction.

Winner of the “Neighborhood Award” at the Lower East Side Film Festival”

Birding in Sara Roosevelt Park, M’Finda Kalunga Garden: American Redstart


Seen in M’Finda Kalunga: female American Redstart!

American Redstarts are common fall migrants across much of the East, and are often found in big numbers on good migration days.
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Fall migration starts earlier than most people realize, with many shorebirds on the move by late June, and the first landbirds heading south soon thereafter. August through October are peak months, but migration continues into December for some species, especially shorter-distance landbirds (e.g., sparrows, blackbirds), raptors, waterfowl, and seabirds. Birds are often on the move every day during this entire period, but there are reasons that some days are better than others for observing them. The volume of migration depends on the weather, with many birds waiting until conditions are favorable before initiating migratory flights.

ebird Cornell Bird Lab of Ornitholgy and Audubon.