Friday, October 5, 2012

The Secret Garden, or a Private Garden?

As you saw in the above post, the "Harvest Arts Festival in the Gardens" will take place this weekend in community gardens throughout the Lower East Side.

One space that won't be taking part: The Secret Garden on Avenue C at East Fourth Street. The garden has been closed since late June.

After the closure, the following signs were posted (since removed) noting some of the forthcoming improvements that "will enhance the experience for our children and their families."

[Click images to enlarge]

According to the sign, "The Secret Garden will become a more welcoming place where each and every member our our diverse community may enjoy the quiet pleasures of green space, especially our children."

The sign goes into detail about a "community member who has been at the center of the controversy involving the many violations in the garden." The sign's author has also taken note "of the many violations with the garden, including illegal outhouse, storage of lighter fluid, fires, alcohol, smoking, dumping or urine, and the disturbing noise levels."

The Secret Garden was tentatively set to re-open on Aug. 4 "beginning with an orientation for membership followed by an open house for the community at large." (There will be a $20 membership fee.)

Two months later, the Garden is still closed. And it currently doesn't look too differently from the photos taken earlier in the summer after it closed...

Of course, all these developments are not sitting well with nearby residents who formerly had access to the Garden. One resident said that this was a "beautiful garden that was fully maintained by an existing community of mostly Puerto Rican senior citizens from the neighborhood — lovely people ... always warm and friendly."

Another tipster claims that this group have been displaced, and will not be invited back to revamped Secret Garden.


Anonymous said...

A membership fee= private park. It totally misses the point of these community gardens that were lovingly transformed from vacant lots into peaceful oases so that everyone could enjoy a slice of beauty and nature. I have been welcomed inside many of these magical places and always felt the immense care and love that nurtured them. Having rules and regulations and membership fees takes the open and lovely spirit of the parks and transforms it into something exclusive and contrived.
I thought NYC had a hand in declaring these formerly vacant lots into parks, so how can they make it into a private entity?

shmnyc said...

Membership fees are minimal, reduced for people who have difficulty paying it, and necessary to maintain the garden. Gardens are not restricted to members only. Depending on the garden, the public is either always welcome to enter, or there are non-member days. (Member days, by the way, involve working, not just sitting back watching the non-members pass by.)

glamma said...

There is one jerk who is a yuppie, bully, nightmare who somehow got control of this garden from green thumb and has locked it and destroyed it. The group of previous gardeners (neighborhood, community residents) is working with greenthumb to get control of the garden back. The guy is a psycho and is trying to take the garden for himself and has threatened many longstanding gardeners, and made false allegations including those "many violations" which are bullsh*t and not even true. The $20 fee will NOT be implemented by greenthumb and i would be surprised if greenthumb was even behind any of this. they have been flooded with complaints about this guy and i do hope they remove him soon and reopen the garden befor he destroys it any further.
Guardiandship should be rightfully restored to the previous gardeners immediately. Seems like greenthumb really effed up here and should use some kind of screening process going forward.
It is a shame that his garden was locked up all summer, it was really a masterpiece and now it is an eyesore.

Michael Maloney said...

I would be interested to hear what the outcome of the secret garden dispute was as we are due to move into the area in the New Year. At the moment we have a lovely big garden where I grow herbs and my children have room to run around in. Is this garden now reopen can anyone enlighten me, or are there other gardens and facilities nearby for public use? Thanks for any help.