Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens (LUNGs)


The official announcement of GARDENS RISING will take place tomorrow, Monday, November 2, 2015 at 10 am at La Plaza Cultural. We are asking all gardeners to show our unity and support for this very important project by attending and making your voices heard.

GARDENS RISING is a New York State funded project to build green infrastructure in the Loisaida community gardens for storm water capture and abatement. This is a $2 million grant through the HUD-funded NY Rising program, which came as a response to Hurricane Sandy.


New York City Community Gardens Coalition (NYCCGC), and their partners NYC Parks’ GreenThumb and LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens) will announce this Community Development Block Grant. This is Disaster Recovery funding from the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) to undertake a feasibility study for stormwater capture best practices within the community gardens of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and to implement the study with an extensive green infrastructure. 

This is a two-phase project. The first phase is to develop a Feasibility Study and Master Plan. The Master Plan will combine the best of community engagement, landscape design, engineering and creative thinking about storm water management with cost effectiveness and sustainable practices.  The Master Plan will be approved by October 2016 and will end phase one. The second phase is the implementation the Master Plan, construction must be completed by September 2019.


GARDENS RISING is a community based operation, all decisions will ultimately be made by the gardeners affected, gardens can choose to participate or not. A Steering Committee of gardeners will be elected and make the final determinations as to the Master Plan.  

This as a huge step forward for our community gardens. We are finally being recognized as a vital environmental asset. GARDENS RISING puts us at the center of the greening movement in New York City.

We hope to parlay this grant into other funding to build other sustainable systems throughout Loisaida and become a Green Lab for the City.  We can look at this as seed money to attract more greening programs and grants into our remarkable and diverse community. GARDENS RISING should be interwoven other projects involving permaculture, renewable energy, conservation, local food production, rat abatement policies, composting practices, citizen science, and other ideas and practices that will evolve with this process.  


We have much work to do to make GARDENS RISING a success but for now let’s celebrate our community gardens and think this new opportunity to contribute to our common future.

So Tomorrow–Please join City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, many other electeds and your fellow gardeners for this important announcement.

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MKGarden Halloween

From Jane (Co-Chair of M’Finda Kalunga Garden):

“What a fantastic day in the garden!  Thanks to the amazing Lauren and Kevin for getting it all organized, and thanks to all the superhelpers – Bob, Bud, Ted, Lara, Lauren’s and Kevin’s friends on the bean bag toss.

Oriol – amazing superhelper and king of the zombie popcorn hands!

And so nice to see so many gardeners working on the garden, especially nice to see Pete!  

Anyone with photos please send to Ted [more photos will be posted here]

Happy Halloween!!


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October 14th 2015 Sara Roosevelt Park Community Coalition Stakeholders Meeting


We were stakeholders who line the perimeter of the park, not-for-profits with a long history in the Coalition, partners with particular expertise for the park, tenant associations, sport clubs, Schools, health facilities, small businesses, arts and cultural institutions, parks organizations, garden stewards, etc. We spoke in four key languages: Spanish, Chinese, English and sign. We were renters, owners, and homeless. We were two to sixteen to eighty! We talked and listened and learned and argued our thinking. We met to discuss rats, garbage, homelessness, youth, elders, safety, sports, usage of the park, returning Stanton Street building to the community, gardening, and stewardship of spaces. We came up with solutions for some problems, scratched our heads at others. Out of this we have two Task Forces that are meeting or will meet. (leave a comment here with your email if we want more information or  leave your email/contact information at the desk at 30 Delancey Street). We are a completely volunteer organization since 1982. Join us if you want to help out or join some of the many groups that are stewarding Sara Roosevelt  Park spaces.

Thank you to everyone (too many to name) who made the evening possible. Funding by Partnerships for Parks Capacity Grant!

Enjoy the photos of the evening – we’ll post our findings later!

photos by Lee Elson, Wendy Brawer, K Webster, Peter Gee

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Citizens Committee for New York City and Temple Emanu-El in Sara Roosevelt Park for volunteer day

With hard work, skills and resources (including a lunch from Katz’s Deli!) Temple Emanu-El volunteers showed up in force today. Citizens Committee for New York City with Lori and Emily provided strong hands and organizing skills.

Teens and parents worked along the sides of the park and in Elizabeth Hubbard Garden and M’Finda Kalunga Garden as well as in The BRC Senior Garden Patio. The young women and women’s group worked with Lori on the patio. They built three enormous garden tables and repotted the plantings! The young men went Tom (new volunteer and friend of Laura and Kevin) installed the hose stanchion, dug a trench for the new hose line and worked on tree pits. And a large group painted almost every bench in the garden (all in sore need of paint)! One group worked up front lining and widening the pathways in Elizabeth Hubbard and planting bulbs for the spring! The garden was swept and cleared areas of debris.

It was a good day. One family has pledged to help Bob Humber (Coordinator of Elizabeth Hubbard) maintain and continue to build that garden.

Bob, K, Chris, Kate, Carol, Lauren, Kevin, Tom, and Joe were the gardeners (and friends of gardeners) who helped out supervising and working.

Thanks to all. Enjoy the pictures!

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Sara Roosevelt Park – history

Sent by Joyce Mendelsohn of Friends of the Lower East Side:

A history of housing proposals between 1930 and 1933, including a radically modern one made by architects Howe and Lescaze

Lower East Side Siedlung (settlement) – By Joanna Merwood–Salisbury

Merwood–Salisbury: “When Sara D. Roosevelt Park opened in September 1934 it …represented a decisive act on the part of new Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia to distance himself from his predecessor, Mayor James J. Walker, and to usher in a new era of civic responsibility in city planning….intended, not for a park, but for social housing.”

“…The land in question had been acquired by the city only a few months before the stock market crash of 1929, at greatly inflated cost. After the existing tenement buildings were demolished in 1930 the site became a barren wasteland of demolition rubble, a “Hooverville” of shanty houses and bread lines…”


With clarification from Joyce Mendelsohn:

….”Tammany politicians and Judge Joseph Force Crater kept the project from getting off the ground. They made shady deals with property owners, jacking up prices that the city paid — while pocketing huge kickbacks for themselves — turning a slum location into a prohibitively expensive land for development.” -‘Lower East Side Remembered and Revisited’, (Second edition Columbia University Press, 2009. p. 162)

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