Harlem’s Flower and Chess Man forced to move

From the NYTimes:

Harlem’s Flower and Chess Man, Forced into an Unwanted Move

“Mr. Gibbs and his portable garden were such a presence that he was known as the Flower Man and residents still call the patch of concrete where he operated Sonny’s Corner. It was a bright spot in front of the Lincoln Houses, a public housing community where residents complain of mold in their apartments and the stench of urine in hallways.

But this spring, New York City told Mr. Gibbs that he had to pack up his roses, daisies and biggest sellers, his potted plants. As it turns out, for more than a decade, he had no legal right to be there. Mr. Gibbs — who is long on adages but short on paperwork, like a permit — got by for years with little trouble beyond the occasional summons. But the parks department began strictly enforcing a law prohibiting a business from operating on parkland without formal approval.”


We’ve removed entire parks so that stadiums filled with corporate boxes can be built in their place -all while giving huge tax breaks to wealthy owners. All ‘legal’. And please don’t speak of ‘lost revenue’ – it insults our intelligence.

Nike has entire offices filled with people who will file their permits and ensure their entree into our parks. Sonny Gibbs, being poor and Black may not have been afforded that  kind of wherewithal in this current society- but he does a hell of a lot more good with the wherewithal he has.

This man is bringing a bit of human goodness to that park. He is part of the resilient efforts we need more of in this city. Hands off.

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