Garden Preservation

Peach Tree Garden



LOCATION: 2nd Street bet. Aves. B& C




The Peachtree Community Garden is located at 236-238 East 2nd Street, between Avenues B & C. We have been requesting that the Community Board recommend us for permanent garden status. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Asian Americans For Equality (a developer) has been asking for the same recommendation. They wish to build a theater on our garden (2 lots). They are also seeking to build housing on the Basketball Court Garden (3 lots) also on our block, and on a parking lot on 3rd Street (3 lots). They have offered Peachtree Garden a 40' x 45' area (the garden is presently 105' x 50') at the front of the proposed building to use as a community garden space, after they destroy the entire existing garden, and the entire Basketball Court Garden as well. (We know that members of the Basketball Court Garden would be using the proposed 40' x 45' space as well. An approximate total of 90 people.)

The Community Board gave NPC 2 years in November '98 to come up with plans and funding. The 2 years is up, and they have produced nothing. In fact, they did not show up to fight our request for permanent status last fall, when their status ran out, until the Community Board expressly invited them to come and state their intentions. NPC was asked by the Board if they had reached out to the community (and Peachtree) and explained their intentions. After they revealed that they had not, the Board asked us (garden members) to meet with NPC in a mediated meeting, to hear them out. We did meet, in 3 separate meetings, but we did not come to any agreement. We have discovered that any agreement we might make with them before they get the space could be null and void after they get it. Right now the injunction (in place since February 14, 2000) protecting all community gardens from development is protecting our garden. We would lose that protection should we make an agreement with developers.

Our membership voted unanimously to try to save the entire garden. We have collected more than 30 letters of support by organizations in the area, and over 750 signatures on our petition. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe has 2 letters of support, one of which is invalid, as we have received a more recent letter of support from the same organization. They have an invalid petition with about 200 signatures, but with no addresses or printed names. They claim that the injunction prevents them from obtaining money to fund their project, but they had 14 months before the injunction was put in place to get funding, and have shown no proof of having raised any.

We would like to make clear that we appreciate the work The Nuyorican Poets Cafe has done for the Latin community in NYC, and don't want to prevent them from expanding, we just don't want them to destroy our garden.

We mean to show that Peachtree Garden has the support of the immediate community. We need as many bodies at that meeting as we can get! We hope that some people might speak on our behalf. Tell your friends! Tell your neighbors! If you can't come, send someone else! We need to make a show of force!

Visit our website: Thanks, and feel free to call me with questions.

Martha Geisler
President, Peachtree Community Garden


Peachtree Community Garden
An Informal History


Peachtree Community Garden was founded originally in 1982 as The East 2nd Street Block Association Garden, an official Greenthumb garden by Scott Bart on, Benito Claudio and Jill London. Together, they planted the original peach tree which now lends its name to the garden. Since then, it has been used for gardening and to hold regular community meetings. The original members of Peachtree Community Garden were instrumental in forcing the drug dens off our block.

Our Greenthumb status lapsed until 1995, when serious efforts began by community members to make the garden into a beautiful place for gatherings, and we changed the name. From 15 members in 1995, we have grown to more than 60 active members of our community, including The Satellite Academy High School, The East Side Tabernacle Church, and The Murray Itkowitz House, a facility of The Bridge, Inc. Since 1998, we get at least a dozen new members each year. The garden, with it's regular open hours & it's open gate policy continues to be a safe and beautiful place for the community, our children and the disabled to take part in. It is a place where strangers become friends, where people work together to better the environment and themselves

We have 31 member plots, and 6 community plots. We do not restrict membership, anyone from anywhere can join Peachtree Community Garden, to use and enjoy the space. As our society has become more environment concious, the demand of New Yorkers to become involved in community gardens increases. We already have a dozen members waiting patiently for their own plots, hoping the garden will still be there when their time comes. It is the nature of a garden to grow and change with time. People come and go, but Benito is still a member, and a few others from the early 1980's.

As long as Peachtree Garden exists, and with enough space for individual creativity, there will always be people there to keep it beautiful.



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