Now some local residents have gotten together to try to save this derelict lot, owned by the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Here's some history via the organizers, First Street Green:
"For years -- back when the laws in New York were a little less rigidly enforced -- a block resident named Mattie made sculpture installations there, and he'd let neighborhood kids in to play basketball. Since Mattie's death, the rat population has exploded and the pavement is riddled with burrows. The only purposes it serves these days are to skeeve block residents and to horrify the block's restaurant patrons (which might be amusing, but their horrified screams are obnoxiously loud). First Street Green (a group that includes block residents, artists, and others) has tried going through the proper channels to develop the lot into a simple sculpture park, with no success: Parks funds are nonexistent (Parks leaves rat poison once a month, and that's about it); the City isn't interested in setting aside money to develop it into a park because of its low profile; it can't become a resident-run Greenthumb garden because it's owned by the Department of Parks and Recreation. So we have two choices: It can stay like this forever, or we can raise the money ourselves to develop it."
So that's what the "First Growth benefit show" is doing tonight from 6-9 at 35 E. First St. (This is in the empty storefront in the building next to the lot/park.)
Per the invite:
"Come and brows, buy and admire the works of local artists with all moneys to benefit the rebuilding of the First Street Green park. Refreshments and wine provided from surrounding businesses will be served. This show will also feature a series of masonite 'rats' created and donated by the Lower Eastside Girls Club."
First Growth's goal is to remove the rubble and create a simple-to-maintain garden and cultural space. Click on the image below for more on the plans.