Garden Preservation


Jardin de la Esperanza Hope Garden




LOCATION:7th Street between B&C

Status: 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)


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