Elizabeth Street Garden Advocates Form Non-Profit Corporation to Fight for its Existence [Updated]

Posted on: April 3rd, 2017 at 5:04 am by

elizabeth-garden-2

Friends of the Elizabeth Street Garden, the grassroots organization founded three years ago to preserve the namesake green space, now has some competition with the newly formed non-profit corporation called Elizabeth Street Garden, Inc.

Its goals are identical. Namely, to preserve the Elizabeth Street Garden as a public, open green space, Community Garden, and city park, in the face of the city’s efforts to build affordable housing onsite. Accessibility to the public will remain the same under the tutelage of the new caretaker, and the free public programming unchanged.

UPDATE: The new corporation is a splinter group, and condemned by Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden.

Yesterday, the board of directors of nonprofit Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden received an unexpected email from Elizabeth Street Gallery owner Allan Reiver telling the board that he was immediately withdrawing his permission for Friends to operate the Garden as we have for the last four years. Instead, he will work alongside a new in-house nonprofit organization, with his son, Joseph Reiver, on the board.

From the press release:

Although the mission of ESG remains the same as FESG, this new organization was formed as a result of significant philosophical differences with some members of the board of FESG with regard to saving the Elizabeth Street Garden from being destroyed by the City of New York and Councilmember Margaret Chin. By seeking to harness the support of the community, which has already been expressed through thousands of letters and four resolutions by Community Board 2, ESG will endeavor to take a more aggressive stance in combating the City’s RFP, ensuring that the Garden remain the jewel that it is today.

“I truly appreciate all the work FESG has done until now with the Garden, both with the programming and advocacy to save it,” said Renee Green a former board member of FESG and founding board member of ESG, “but the time has come to take a much more aggressive stance in fighting the City and Margaret Chin, and I know ESG will do that.”

“We must get more aggressive with city,” noted Aziz Dehkan, Executive Director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition “we won’t leave any stone unturned in saving this Garden, and everything is on the table, including legal action. It’s time to stop talking about saving the Garden, and time to start doing. All the talk has done is leave the Garden on the verge of being destroyed and we can’t let that happen.”

This new representation formed against the backdrop of Mayor de Blasio’s blase response to saving the garden. Even last week, hizzoner was quoted as basically torpedoing plans to save the garden. The Villager reported that “[de Blasio] simply disagrees that the entire beloved Little Italy garden should be saved by shifting an affordable housing project planned there to another site.”

Recent Stories

This Guy was the First Customer at Trader Joe’s on the Lower East Side

People queue for anything. Here on the Lower East Side, it was for the Friday morning debut of Trader Joe’s on Grand Street. After years of hype, anticipation, and plenty of delays, the specialty grocer is finally a reality. It occupies 30,000 square-feet in the basement of The Rollins building at Essex Crossing (aka Site […]

City Council Holds Public Hearing Today on ‘Small Business Jobs Survival Act’

After languishing for over thirty years, a lifeline might be thrown to struggling small business owners. City Council later today is holding a public hearing for the polarizing Small Business Jobs Survival Act. Only in the last couple years has the forsaken legislation gained traction, owed in large part to the #SaveNYC grassroots campaign founded […]

The Bowery Lighting District Just Lost its Biggest Store, Lighting by Gregory

The Bowery Lighting District is reeling after losing its biggest store. Lighting by Gregory – located between Kenmare and Broome Streets for decades – faded from the landscape last week. The business shuttered, leaving behind multiple storefronts at 156-158 Bowery for the take. Apparently the company is in the throes of Bankruptcy filing, and the […]

When the Rear Garden Grows the 28-Story Public Hotel

For the last year, 215 Chrystie Street has been the address of Ian Schrager’s posh Public Hotel (and condos). Before the 28-story development, though, this city parcel was the rear yard, and garden, for the Thelma Burke building on Stanton Street. The New York Times just published a new feature, “How a Garden for the […]

Founded on the Lower East Side, B’nai Brith Celebrates 175 Years

The oldest Jewish service organization in the world began here on the Lower East Side, and this year celebrates a major milestone. B’nai Brith International (“Sons of the Covenant”) – now in its 175th year – was founded on Essex Street in October 1843 by a dozen immigrants of German-Jewish descent. Of course, at that […]