Street between B&C
BULLDOZED February 15, 2000
El Jardin de Esperanza was started 22 years ago by the
Torres family when Alecia Torres, a neighborhood resident and great
grandmother, began clearing the rubble and trash filled lot. The garden
was a major community asset in a neighborhood with the least green space
per capita of any neighborhood in New York City.
In spite of the fact that there are over 10,000 publicly
owned vacant lots in New York City, nearly 600 gardens city-wide remain
unprotected and are at risk of being sold to developers. The need for
low cost housing is often cited as a reason for destroying gardens.
In reality, most new buildings contain very little, if any, low income
housing. Developer Donald Cappocia, who plans to build on Esperanza
Garden, has already bulldozed 4 community gardens on the Lower East
Side, replacing them with "80/20" housing, where 80% of the units are
priced at market value while only 20% are set aside for "low income"
housing. After 10 years even this small percentage can climb back up
to market rate. (Text by Jennifer Whitburn)