It’s My Park Day!

Great turn out with too many to thank. Let me know if I missed you!

Jen Itzkowitz organized the donations and food (terrific job), food boss Kevin stepped in to lead the day in food. Penny led the pruning brigade with Oriol (who brought a very good friend who spent the day chopping down a tree in the garden), Jenifer organized the children’s shed, Chris, Kevin, Lauren (yes, who had a baby this week), George, Carol, Kate and Shel were all on tree pit renovation. Beautiful job with all the tree pits from Stanton to Delancey (we’ll finish up tomorrow). Turi pruned, Joe watched the gate and welcomed people, Ted was on turtle pond duty and helped with sandbox removal and fixed the wheelbarrow’s flat tire. Raisa planted tulips. Wendy Brawer of Green Map Systems planted tulips in honor of Adam Purple across from the site of the former “Garden of Eden” (thank you Wendy!). Carolina from Combo CoLab began installing rainwater harvesting (or repairing what has been here). Kirsti of Partnerships for Parks (who organized our tool and bulb drop off) stopped by to say hello. Turi also befriended a butterfly (look at the photo carefully) that resembled a leaf. Anyone know what kind it is? And what about those terrifying ‘crickets’ guarding the chain?

Bob and K did things too.

Morgenstern’s Ice Cream gave us LOTS of ice cream without standing in line for this sought after treat! -Rivington between Chrystie and Bowery.

Stanton CSA gave us fruit.

Our Partnership for Parks’ Capacity Grant funded meeting on Wednesday had left over: water, soda’s, table cloths, utensils – all donated.

Starbucks gave coffee and pastries and sandwiches- Allen and Delancey.

Pop-Karma gave bulk bags of popcorn – Orchard just south of Delancey.

The Pickle Guys -Essex near Grand.

There was home-baked bread, and other goodies from our excellent gardeners.

It was lovely to be working on the same day that women running for breast cancer awareness graced our park with their presence.

We worked! And at the end of the day we ate all the ice cream Bob would share! Thanks everyone. It was a great day.

Tomorrow Bob and I will be out there again from 1-4 with a crew from Temple E Manuel. Join us! Lots of leftovers!

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WNYC’s Science Friday: “a treasured find” in Sara Roosevelt Park

WNYC’s Science Friday Ira Flatow talks with Cognitive neuroscientist Colin Ellard who studies how our streetscapes shape our bodies, brains and behavior.

Ira: I followed one of your tour routes…My first stop was a city green space. We are at a community garden at the Sara D Roosevelt Park in historic lower east side of NY. If you look into the garden it really makes you forget that you are in the lower east side. It is beautifully taken care of there are park benches, there is a place to play chess, sit and relax and plenty of greenery and when you look around you can clearly see that people have been gardening in this garden all summer. I would describe my physical state as being relaxed, “vacation- y”, and very much feeling at one with nature here…”

photo: Steve Elson

Colin: “…That spot where you were was such a treasured find on that walk. We really didn’t expect to find anything that tranquil, that kind of oasis of greenspace on the walk.”

Ira: “It’s really true you just walk in there and suddenly you’re in a different place.”

Ira near the Hua Mei Bird Sanctuary:


Can Science Help Build Happier Cities? OCT. 16, 2015 – with thanks to Ted Glass

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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

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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.”

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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)


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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).

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Deutsche Bank Volunteers prepare the ground for Horticultural Society and Emma Lazarus 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.

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