Stay Green Lungsters,

The planned destruction of East River Park is going to greatly affect our gardens. LUNGS is holding a public meeting this Thursday, January 17, at 7pm at 428 E10th St.(C&D) to discuss the situation.

We are in the middle of a struggle to preserve East River Park. We are fighting the proposed plan and its implementation. The City intends to close the entire park for at least 3 1/2 years beginning next Spring.

That means no baseball, no running, no dog walking, no people walking, no barbeques , soccer, frisbee, tennis, bicycling, no nothing. This will disrupt our entire neighborhood. Kids, the elderly, families, schools, everyone’s life will be impacted by the shutdown.

And the gardens need to be prepared. We will have to open our garden gates and welcome the community to an even greater extent than we do now.  People will need our green spaces for gatherings, to play tag, to bbq and to just to hang out.

The gardens are going to be hubs of increasing activity. We will have to be open longer hours to meet community needs. This will require greater diligence and more maintenance. Neighborhood needs are going to require more time and an even greater spirit of community from gardeners. There will be more pressure to volunteers.  We need to recognize this, talk it over and strategize.

A Joint hearing on East River Park by the City Council’s committees on Parks and Environmental Protection is scheduled for Wednesday, January 23, at 1pm at City Hall. We must turn out in numbers to voice our opposition to the plan.

Our city council member, Carlina Rivera, requested the hearing and has stated:

“This hearing will finally give the Council and our community the chance to hear directly from the Mayor’s team and relevant agency commissioners regarding the recent changes to this monumental coastal protection project. Even with multiple community briefings and meetings with elected officials, we still do not have important details about this project, and I expect the Mayor’s team to come well prepared and help us understand the need for these drastic changes

East River Park – A Biodiversity of Life: People and Plants!

Long-time stewards of East River Park have been attempting to go through and verify species’ identities. Their working tally (327) is most “certainly an underestimate” With the trees on their list being the largest and most conspicuous organisms.

The ever-growing species count for the East River Park. The information was extracted from eBird and iNaturalist:

Stewards vividly remember Sandy…

And question: “Why can’t we have a park, including athletic fields AND hospitable to biodiversity, that is designed to withstand and absorb occasional floods?”

M’Finda Kalunga Garden to Get Long-Awaited Permeable Pavers

Although the design will need to be modified regarding the turtle pond (and no berm needed) and placement of pollinator garden, the addition of solar powered microgrids and permeable pavers for the pathways will make them more the garden more resilient and improve accessibility for the seniors using the BRC Center during the weekdays and for the public on Thursday evenings and weekends.

The garden membership will review before plans are finalized.

Garden Co-Chair Jen Izkowitz and SDR Coalition President K Webster met with Elizabeth Martinez and Angelo (both our Park Department Officials) along with Lisa Sabella Project Development Coordinator with GreenThumb.

Thanks to Parks Department and GreenThumb, the long-time advocacy of LUNGS and Gardens Rising and our Garden members Jane Barrer and others.

La Plaza Cultural Solar Pavilion

La Plaza Cultural planning Solar pavilion. They use open source technology! So everyone will be able to use their efforts to build self-contained solar power and other resiliency resources. Thank you!

From NYers4Parks re: East Side Coastal Resiliency Project:

City Council Parks Committee hearing on the East Side Resiliency Project has been scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, January 23rd at 1pm at City Hall. NY4P will be there to testify, and we encourage you all to join and send members of your coalitions as well to both listen and participate in the hearing to share your experiences and thoughts about this project. We are going to start doing more intensive research on our end as we prepare our testimony, but would welcome your thoughts and feedback as direct stakeholders in this project. We’d also welcome your help in sharing the news about this hearing to folks in your network who may also be interested in attending.

Rivington House Update

Photo from video Pridgen (2010) Directed by Fury Young Film shot by Christopher Cafaro

Despite the notorious scandal and subsequent 3 1/2 year fight by the community to return Rivington House to its role as nursing home facility AND the well-publicized fact that Neighbors to Save Rivington House along with elected representatives were in the midst of negotiations with Slate Property Group (or… a simple google search?) Neighbors to Save Rivington House learned (along with elected representatives) that Mount Sinai had signed a Letter of Intent with Slate on behalf of their own desired project to take over the entire building to create a Behavioral Health facility. Apparently they would like to remove these current services from their newly acquired downsized Beth Israel site (Bernstein Building) to our neighborhood.

At a recent CB3 Health and Human Services Committee Meeting, Mount Sinai/Beth Israel claimed they had no awareness of Neighbors to Save Rivington House struggle to reclaim the building for this community nor that we were in negotiations alongside elected offic.

From the Real Deal video on the Rivington House controversy 

If Mount Sinai succeeds this could have differing impacts here: some potentially good, some potentially troubling. We don’t know enough yet what this means for this park. It is not clear that Mount Sinai thought about their desired new location in terms of the current challenges within this park.

Below are three responses from Neighbors to Save Rivington House: a perspective on being pitted against others in need, an Open Letter and a Letter after meeting with MSBI.  Media reporting linked below.

Also included is a CB3 Resolution on the original Mount Sinai Beth Israel plan to downsize their current ‘campus’ and this link to the Villager article  on the details of the original Beth Israel site and Mount Sinai’s plans for downsizing it.

We will share whatever information we are able to get.


First, this, prior to a CB3 Health Committee Meeting:

“This is the neighborhood that welcomed Rivington House for people with AIDS/HIV.

We won’t be pitted against people who desperately need a home and/or services. Never have. Never will. 

We share.

That is in fact one issue with this sudden announcement: potentially, people in crisis would be pitted against each other – that is unacceptable. As was not vetting this plan through elected officials here before any “Letter of Intent” was signed.

We are asking to share space with Mount Sinai/Beth Israel. The community fought 3 1/2 years to “preserve” this tremendous resource. Rivington House represents 219 ‘homes’ (beds). This was always housing for the disabled, for those stricken with illness requiring 24/7 long-term care, or for those who were dying. 

We want to build a model of “nursing home” care that would be integrated into our neighborhood for people with Alzheimers, other dementias, other debilitating diseases, and to return the former evicted tenants who are living with AIDS/HIV. 

We want to share this building which could be an activated community hub for many real needs here.

We’ll be there. Continuing to fight for people whose minds are being slowly taken by yet another disease with no cure, that people die from.” – K


The Villager





Happy Holidays

Shelter thee.


Tire Swing Return?

A parkgoer and mom sent word about missing broken tire swing in early November. Awaiting word on repair!


NY4P Parks: Community Partners

New Yorkers for Parks and Parks Committee Chair Council Member Barry Grodenchik working on partnering with stewards and peers to better resource our parks.

“We believe the time is right for us to begin convening our peers within the parks world to discuss ways we can mutually move the needle in the direction of true park equity in the city of New York. As we look ahead to launching a robust campaign for City parks, we need your knowledge, expertise, and guidance…” – New Yorkers for Parks

“This is an important idea in organizing to ensure funding for vital parks structural and maintenance needs being based-lined in our City budget. Equity, transparency, preserving and building neighborhood unity, the potential for skilled job creation, and support for our city parks becoming the front line in mitigating and educating the city’s residents on climate change.” – SDR Park Coalition


Warming in Arctic Raises Fears of a ‘Rapid Unraveling’ of the Region


The rising air temperatures are having profound effects on sea ice, and on life on land and in the ocean, scientists said. The impacts can be felt far beyond the region, especially since the changing Arctic climate may be influencing extreme weather events around the world.”


“Persistent warming in the Arctic is pushing the region into “uncharted territory” and increasingly affecting the continental United States, scientists said Tuesday.

“We’re seeing this continued increase of warmth pervading across the entire Arctic system,” said Emily Osborne, an official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who presented the agency’s annual assessment of the state of the region, the “Arctic Report Card.”

“….The warmer Arctic air causes the jet stream to become “sluggish and unusually wavy,” the researchers said. That has possible connections to extreme weather events elsewhere on the globe, including last winter’s severe storms in the United States and a bitter cold spell in Europe known as the “Beast From the East.”


Some of the findings in the research, provided by 81 scientists in 12 countries, included:

  • Ice that persists year after year, forming thick layers, is disappearing from the Arctic. This is important because the very old ice tends to resist melting; without it, melting accelerates. Old ice made up less than 1 percent of the Arctic ice pack this year, a decline of 95 percent over the last 33 years.

  • Donald K. Perovich, a sea-ice expert at Dartmouth College who contributed to the report, said the “big story” for ice this year was in the Bering Sea, off western Alaska, where the extent of sea ice reached a record low for virtually the entire winter. During two weeks in February, normally a time when sea ice grows, the Bering Sea lost an area of ice the size of Idaho, Dr. Perovich said.

  • The lack of ice and surge of warmth coincides with rapid expansion of algae species in the Arctic Ocean, associated with harmful blooms that can poison marine life and people who eat the contaminated seafood. The northward shift of the algae “means that the Arctic is now vulnerable to species introductions into local communities and ecosystems that have little to no prior exposure to this phenomenon,” the report said.

  • Reindeer and caribou populations have declined 56 percent in the past two decades, dropping to 2.1 million from 4.7 million. Scientists monitoring 22 herds found that two of them were at peak numbers without declines, but five populations had declined more than 90 percent “and show no sign of recovery.”

  • Tiny bits of ocean plastic, which can be ingested by marine life, are proliferating at the top of the planet. “Concentrations in the remote Arctic Ocean are higher than all other ocean basins in the world,” the report said. The microplastics are also showing up in Arctic sea ice. Scientists have found samples of cellulose acetate, used in making cigarette filters, and particles of plastics used in bottle caps and packaging material.”