Celebration of What Was and What Could Be in Sara Roosevelt Park

Thank you to the students in Pratt Institute’s Interior Design department for their proposals for the re-imagined interiors of the Stanton Building. The students:

Shreya Bhuraria, Vanwalee Chansue, Aastha Kothari, Erin Loffler, Erin Lutz, Mallika Mehrotra, Niyati Shah, Mahzad Soheili 

Thank you to the Keena for providing us with such a joyous evening with a look back at the history of Sara Roosevelt Park with the curated exhibition of historic images from the NYC Parks archives and for a look into the future of what we could be.

Thank you to Council Member Chin and Borough President Brewer for the words and all your support for moving our park to a better future.

Thank you to Ryan, Dakota and Emilio who generously helped with the space.

Thank you to the Parks Department Archivist.

Thank you to all our Task Force: Ryan, Wendy, Jennifer and the Sara Roosevelt Community Coalition.

Thank you to Thelma Pridgen, Bob Humber, Debra Jeffreys-Glass, Ted Glass, K Webster of the Coalition.

Thank you to Felicia Gordon Tenant Leader of Rafael Hernandez Housing.

Thank you to our local businesses Ceci Cela and Roni-Sue’s Chocolates.

Moral March for Housing

DID YOU KNOW: 100 New Yorkers are evicted every day.

It’s now or never for housing justice. We need universal rent control.

  • Expand rent regulation to every county
  • Pass good cause eviction
  • Eliminate loopholes like vacancy bonus, vacancy decontrol, preferential rent and MCIs (major capital increases) /IAIs (individual apartment improvements)

Doors open at 5:00PM

From: East River Alliance

The East River Alliance is meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 6:30 p.m at the Educational Alliance, 25-29 Avenue D, bet. 3rd & 4th street. Join us to learn more about the recently released #ESCR Environmental Impact Statement.

Talking Points from the just released Environmental Impact Study on East Side Coastal Resiliency Project


An inventory of on- and off-street parking within a ¼-mile radius of the project area showed approximately 70 on-street parking spaces available near Project Area One (Montgomery St to 13th St)and 30 on-street parking spaces available near Project Area (13th St to 25th St.) Two. The off-street survey showed approximately 60 spaces available near Project Area One and 800 spaces available near Project Area Two. Construction under the Preferred Alternative is anticipated to generate a maximum parking demand of 92 spaces for Project Area One and 52 spaces for Project Area Two. The Project Area Two demand would be fully accommodated by the large inventory of available on- and off-street parking spaces near the project area. The Project Area One demand would not be fully accommodated within ¼-mile and could result in a parking shortfall of up to approximately 35 spaces. It is expected that excess parking demand within Project Area One would need to be accommodated by on-street parking or off-street parking beyond a ¼-mile walk from the project area. Alternatively, motorists could choose other modes of transportation. As stated in the CEQR Technical Manual, a parking shortfall resulting from a project located in Manhattan does not constitute a significant adverse parking impact, due to the magnitude of available alternative modes of transportation. Therefore, construction of the preferred Alternative would not result in any significant adverse parking effects. 


Construction of the Preferred Alternative would generate 144 transit trips (total of Project Area One and Project Area Two) during the peak hour of the peak construction period, below the CEQR Technical Manual analysis threshold of 200 transit trips. Therefore, construction of this alternative would not result in any significant adverse transit effects.

From LUNGS: Parade

Spring Awakening this Sunday, April 14, parade at 11:45

(SEE MAP below).

One Night Only!

Wednesday April 10th at 6:30pm

70 East 4th Street

The “D” for Delano in the Sara D Roosevelt Park

All In a Name.

An essay from Bowerygals, October 23, 2006

Sarah Delano Roosevelt was fond of remarking that the Delano family was more illustrious than the Roosevelt’s.

“ Along with the slave trade, the traffic in opium [in China] was the dirty underside of an evolving global trading economy. In America as in Europe, pretty much everything was deemed fair in the pursuit of profits. Such was the outlook at Russell & Company, a Boston concern whose clipper ships made it the leader in the lucrative American trade in Chinese tea and silk. In 1823 a 24 year old Yankee, Warren Delano, sailed to Canton, where he did so well that within seven years he was a senior partner in Russell & Company. Writing home, Delano said he could not pretend to justify the opium trade on moral grounds, “but as a merchant I insist it has been.. fair, honorable and legitimate,” 

Warren Delano returned to America rich, and in 1851 settled in Newburgh, N.Y. There he eventually gave his daughter Sara in marriage to a wellborn neighbor, James Roosevelt, the father of Franklin Roosevelt. The old China trader was closemouthed about opium, as were his partners in Russell & Company. It is not clear how much F.D.R. knew about this source of his grandfather’s wealth. But the President’s recent biographer Geoffrey Ward rejects efforts by the Delano family to minimize Warren’s involvement. …The family’s discomfort is understandable. We no longer believe that anything goes in the global marketplace, regardless of social consequences.” -1997 The New York Times 

The opium trade had a disasterous affect on China. In the 1830’s…virtually all men under 40 smoked opium. The entire army was addicted. It affected all classes of people. The total number of addicts in China in the 1830’s was as high as 12 million As Mr. H. Wells Williams writes in his book “Middle Kingdom” the opium trade “was a turning point in the national life of the Chinese race”.

A statue in nearby Chattam Square of Lin Zexu (the Chinese official whose refusal to bend to British opium interests gave pretext for the Opium Wars) was paid for by Chinatown residents. A strong statement of the Chinese communities views on the legacy of the opium addiction enforced upon China’s people.

It never makes sense to pretend that a history hasn’t happened or that we can’t look compassionately and clearly at the worst in humanity knowing we are going forward. To not do so puts us in league with harmful ideas of revisionism and pretense. The area around the southern end of Sara D. Park is home and playground to Chinese children. It is a learning moment.

In recent news Brown University has chosen to face its history with the slave trade. It brings a collective sigh of relief when we do this squarely. We do this, not to smear someone we can then comfortably peg as the bad guy, but to be able to go forward: this is where we were; this is where we are going. Examples abound of individuals, institutions, and states looking squarely at the consequences of actions taken in the past (the Truth and Reconciliation Commission being one of the more famous of these). It is a growing international consensus that this is the only way we can actually move on from tragedy. These are not just things that happened long ago that have no consequence today. Any reading of history shows that the effects of war, slavery, genocide, wholesale colonization or in this case the drugging of a nation for profit, lives on in the affected future generations unless we stop and address it. 

As Ruth J. Simmons President of Brown and great granddaughter of enslaved Africans said, “We cannot change the past. But an institution can hold itself accountable for the past, accepting its burdens and responsibilities along with its benefits and privileges”.

I personally don’t agree about the illustriousness of the Delano name and I don’t feel we need to honor it, but if we do so by naming a park after it, then it requires telling the whole story. There is a right to know. 

It is an opportunity to acknowledge that Warren Delano’s involvement with the opium trade, though gravely and tragically wrong, was of an historical time that from our present vantage point we know with certainty was neither “fair”, nor “honorable” nor “legitimate”.

Update: Fort Greene Community on Saving Fort Greene Park

Brooklyn Paper: Residents sue city again for Fort Greene Park revamp

From Friends of Fort Greene Park

“The Parks Department misrepresented the health of the 58 mature trees marked for removal — a total of 71 trees will be endangered, including an additional 13 due to extreme pruning and adjacent excavation under their Parks Without Borders redesign plan. “

Take Action Now to Save 58 Mature Trees in Fort Greene Park

“We welcome an influx of money that would preserve, restore and enhance current and historic park features. NYC Parks are supposed to be stewards of these publicly owned spaces and residents expect them to implement community input and maintain the character of our neighborhood park.”

“Fort Greene residents say NO to Parks Without Borders redesign of the Park; NO to cutting down healthy trees and eliminating shade; NO to dismantling historic features; NO to concrete instead of green.”

From LUNGs re Children’s Magical Garden Destruction

From Children’s Magical Garden:

Please join members of Children’s Magical Garden tomorrow,
Tuesday, April 9th at 7:30 AM. Press Conference

Show your support of this beloved community garden under dire
Your presence will help protect this children’s garden.
Trees and plants destroyed! This is a call for Solidarity!
The Gardens stand together. An attack on one is an attack on all.

Location: 129 Stanton Street between Norfolk and Essex, NY NY

Members of Children’s Magical Garden were heartbroken and outraged
to discover as they came to the garden on Sunday that a trespasser had
illegally broken into their property and senselessly destroyed many of
their treasured plantings, including their mature and flowering nectarine tree, elderberry bushes, butterfly bushes (which attracted monarch
butterflies to the garden each year), mature boxwoods, and perennial
The Children’s Magical Garden is beloved and historic community
garden founded in 1982 at the corner of Norfolk and Stanton Streets on
the Lower East Side.  More than three decades ago, the Garden’s founding members transformed the site of a burned down building that had
become a dangerous dumping ground across the street from P.S. 20
elementary school into an enclosed garden sanctuary, where children
could safely play and learn about nature.  Recognized by the New York
City Council as a “neighborhood treasure,” and for its “vital role in
transforming the Lower East Side environment,” this non-profit
community garden has given mentorship to thousands of children and
inspired a connection to nature for generations of New York City
Despite public protests and repeated calls and letters to the developers
by members of the New York City Council, the principals of all four
neighboring schools, a petition signed by 2,500 community members, and a resolution by Community Board 3 in support of the “beloved
community garden”, the developers have refused to work towards a
peaceful resolution that returns the property to the Children’s Magical
Garden. ..
Gardeners are asking the community to call their representatives and let them know what the Children’s Magical Garden means to them.
Dave Currence, Children’s Magical Garden Board Member
Benjamin Burry, Sidley Austin bburry@sidley.com

Are Playgrounds the Site of New York City’s Next Big Land Grab?

From CityLab

By Rick Stachura

“A proposed luxury development in Manhattan has highlighted the murky status of Jointly Owned Playgrounds. Are they people’s parks or possible development sites?”

The possibilities, if JOPs can be development sites

If JOPs were suddenly imbued with development rights, what would happen? In September 2018, Elizabeth Goldstein, President of the Municipal Art Society, told a hearing of the City Council Committee on Parks and Recreation that the impact would be unprecedented: “If [all the] JOPs across the city of New York were to have air rights today—if by some wave of the magic wand they were to have development rights—they would represent between 20 and 40 million square feet of development rights that aren’t currently on the books, which is the equivalent of 10 Empire State Buildings.”

Photo Rick Stachura

News from East River Alliance

Environmental Impact Statement Released Friday. Did you read it yet?
Find it here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/escr/progress/environmental-review.page
We encourage the community to continue participation in this process. Comments must be submitted on or before August 15, 2019, using one of the following ways: (1) orally or in writing at the Public Hearing; (2) via email to CDBGDR-Enviro@omb.nyc.gov; (3) online at http://www.nyc.gov/cdbgdr
The East River Alliance will also be sharing comments on our website. Send copies of your submitted comments and notes on the EIS to: community@eastriveralliance.org.
Get involved with the East River Alliance to work with the city for a better plan. All are welcome! We need your voice!
Upcoming Meetings:
Stewardship Committee: 6:30 PM, Monday, April 8 Lower East Side Ecology Center, Fire Boathouse, East River Park Promenade.
General Meeting, focused on EIS: 6:30 PM, Wednesday, April 10th PS 15 – Roberto Clemente School, 333 East 4th St, NY, NY
Check the website for news, updates, and upcoming committee and general meetings. eastriveralliance.org Questions? Contact us at: community@eastriveralliance.org Follow us on Twitter: @eastriverallies Instagram: Share photos, tag #eastriverparks, and follow @eastriveralliance