At the time of her death, she was living at 219 E. Seventh St. between Avenue B and Avenue C — her home since 1975.
Here's more about her life via a tribute at Legacy.com:
Alicia Torres and her eight children moved to New York City in 1959. In 1975, they moved to the heart of the Lower East Side (Loisaida), 219 E. Seventh St., a tenement building, after being displaced from one dilapidated apartment to another.Alicia had grown up on the island of Vieques; her family had been displaced from their land by the United States Navy in the 1930s and had suffered through the Great Depression, which made Puerto Rico the poorest country in the world at that time.
When the building (219 E. Seventh) was sold in 1976 to a real estate speculator who tried to collect rent while providing no services, Alicia decided she was tired of being pushed around. With the guidance of a community housing organization, Adopt a Building, the Torres family organized a tenant association and led a rent strike.They collected the rents and started to make repairs and purchase heating oil. The landlord brought eviction proceedings in the Housing Court, but did not prevail as he failed to make the repairs that were ordered by the judge. Conditions were harsh, however, and most of the tenants gradually moved out, leaving the Torres family members occupying eight of the twenty-four apartments.In 1975, the building next door (223 E. Seventh St.) had a devastating fire. The City demolished the building in 1976 and the resulting rubble lot attracted neighborhood drug dealers. Some neighbors at this end of Seventh Street met with Alicia Torres and her family and together they started to clear the lot of the bricks and debris and planted sunflowers. It was backbreaking work, but soon the lot started to look more like a garden than a rubble lot.In 1979, the East Seventh St Block Association was granted a lease by the City's Operation Green Thumb and a fence was erected to protect the garden. Green Thumb delivered truckloads of fertile topsoil from upstate and soon after that, it wasn't long before the garden members, many of them 219 residents, were growing vegetables, flowers, and shrubs. Trees and rose bushes were planted and the garden became a magical space for East Seventh Street residents, especially children.On weekends, the garden would be full of people working, talking, cooking, and kids playing. It was an island of beauty and harmony amidst a gritty urban landscape.
Photo of Alicia Torres in Esperanza sometime in the late 1980s courtesy of Marcel Torres. You can read more about what happened to the garden here.