City Demands Removal of Statues from Elizabeth Street Garden

Posted on: October 29th, 2018 at 5:06 am by

January 2015

Last week, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development sent a notice to the stewards of the Elizabeth Street Garden to remove the longstanding statues from the city-owned plot. All of them.

It’s the latest chapter in a years-long drama pitting neighborhood activists against city plans to redevelop the site as affordable housing.

The eponymous Elizabeth Street Garden community organization sent a press release on Friday announcing the HPD notice. The demand arrives before the official determination from the city about whether the project can move forward.

As previously reported, the garden may soon be bulldozed to pave way for Haven Green, an affordable housing complex for seniors. That’s what they say, at least. The proposed building – developed by Pennrose Properties and Habitat for Humanity NYC – will rise seven stories and carry 123 apartments measuring roughly 400 square-feet each. There is also luxury ground floor retail, and 11,200 square-feet of below-market-rate office space reserved for Habitat NYC.

Photo: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

In addition, the plan calls for the inclusion of 7,600 square-feet of privately owned publicly-accessible space (aka POPS).

The collection of statues and monuments belongs to Allan Reiver, who moved to the block in 1989. At the time, he obtained approval from Community Board 2 to clean up the garbage-strewn lot and add sculptures found at estates. Some he sold, but it was his way of beautifying the block. Reiver’s maintained a lease on the parcel since 1991.

And now, the city appears hell-bent on foisting Haven Green on Little Italy. For the last few years, Mayor de Blasio, Councilmember Margaret Chin, and HPD have continuously ignored the viable alternate site on the west side (Hudson Street) that could potentially accommodate five times the amount of affordable housing without destroying the Little Italy garden.

Meanwhile, Garden advocates again rallied yesterday afternoon to speak out against the statuary removal and potential destruction of the open space.

Recent Stories

Report: Tenement Museum Workers Unionize

The front-facing staff of the Tenement Museum, after many failed attempts throughout the years, have finally agreed to unionize. A vote was held last week in which all education, retail, and visitor services employees mobilized to join Local 2110 UAW (United Auto Workers). The measure passed by a 96% margin. The vote was spurred by […]

Sunshine Cinema Signage Carted Away

Sunshine, sunset, swiftly goes the demolition. Indeed, no sooner did the sidewalk bridge appear at 141 East Houston Street than workers deposed the Sunshine Cinema neon lettering. We’re told that a van carted the signage away yesterday. Co-owner-developer East End Capital did not return our request about the fate of the letters. Meanwhile, the demolition […]

New Essex Street Market Sets Opening Date at Essex Crossing [Updated]

Seventy-nine is a momentous age for the Essex Street Market. Now, more than five years in the making, the Lower East Side institution opened by Mayor LaGuardia in 1940 is finally ready to cross Delancey. The date for its opening at Essex Crossing has been set. Mark the calendar for Monday morning, May 13. In […]

Ready to Win the Weekend? [SPONSOR]

“Let’s meet for drinks” is starting to get lamer than Netflix-and-chill. Amp up your culture factor, impress your date, and maybe even take home great new art at Superfine! Art Fair, opening May 1 with a champagne washed inaugural party in SoHo. Explore three rooms chock full of awesome art by 80+ top-tier emerging artists. […]

He Said, She Said: A Two-City Concert Review of KOLARS

KOLARS is a Los Angeles-based rock duo, formerly of folk outfit He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, and the latest in our “He Said/She Said” music series. They’ve been relentlessly on tour for the past three years (over 400 shows since 2016), and while Passover prevented us from getting to the New York gig, we […]