V (vivnsect) wrote,
V
vivnsect

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Yesterday, I walked back home from a Union Square school book purchasing excursion through Alphabet City. I wound around Avenues B and C for quite a while. Alphabet City comprises of Avenues A, B, C and D and runs from 14th Street to Houston Street. It was an absolute war zone in the 1980s and its landscape was littered with burned-out buildings, vacant lots filled with garbage, drug dealers and squatters. It wasn't a friendly place by any means. It was home to some of the first graffiti writers, rappers and DJs. It was also one of New York City's most brutally violent neighborhoods.

In 1978, New York City started something called Operation GreenThumb and throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, this organization cleared out many of the vacant lots throughout Alphabet City and turned them into fully functional Community Gardens. There are now well over 50 Community Gardens on the Lower East Side, most of them in Alphabet City and they are some of the most beautiful, unsung wonders of New York City.





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Sadly, I didn't note the name of this particular garden where this group of three above photos were taken.




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"La Plaza Cultural and the 9 BC Garden was founded in 1976 with a 1 year short-term lease changed to Greenthumb licence in 1996. It consist of 100 members, and 27,000 sq. ft. of land that includes a large park and attached garden with approximately 30 plots.

Hundreds of people in this neighborhood are served yearly by this park.- Source.

This garden (photos of some of it below) actually serves not only as a place for the community to garden together but also as a venue for outdoor events as well as cultural events (film showings for example)."





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The inside space of the garden is engulfed in the shade of many weeping willow trees which makes it a nice oasis on a hot and overly sunny day.




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The contrast between the shade and the brightness of the street outside the garden is striking.



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The fence that lines the perimeter of the garden is lined with trash art primarily by local artist Rolando Politi. Many of the pieces of recycled trash also act as bird-houses and feeders. :)




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Stopped by another tiny garden where there was a flock of pink flamingos, Halloween masks in the trees and a flea market.



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Mural on 6th Street near Avenues C and D.




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Other half of the mural.





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An iconic image of New York City.


"Shoe flinging or "shoefiti" is the practice of throwing shoes whose shoelaces have been tied together so that they hang from overhead wires such as power lines or telephone cables. The shoes are tied together by their laces, and the pair is then thrown at the wires as a sort of bolas. This practice plays a widespread, though mysterious, role in adolescent folklore in the United States. Shoe flinging has also been reported in many other countries, as mentioned above.

Shoe flinging occurs throughout the United States, in rural as well as in urban areas. Usually, the shoes flung at the wires are sneakers; elsewhere, especially in rural areas, many different varieties of shoes, including leather shoes and boots, also are thrown." - Source.

A while back, the phenomenon of shoes thrown on power lines in NYC was covered by BBC which brought a smile to my face:






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I stumbled upon this garden and fell totally in love with it. It's aptly named The Secret Garden and it's located at 293-297 E 4th St at Ave C. There were a few people from the block relaxing there and they were very amused that I was taking photos of the gardens. I tried to talk to them in my (very, very) broken Spanish and they tried to talk to me in their broken English and there were a lot of smiles exchanged.




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The bird-house in The Secret Garden.

Yes, that is indeed a Homie sitting outside his house with a little bit of graffiti. My level of love for this bird-house is enormous.




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It's really secluded and extremely peaceful.



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Crossed Houston as I was nearing home but then I turned and spied a tiny garden hidden by a partially abandoned building.





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The sky was so beautiful.



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I crossed to explore it and found this sign.


"On September 17, 2010 the agreement between then New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and then-and-now Mayor Bloomberg which had granted the City's community gardens an eight-year reprieve from the organized destruction and commercial development of them under the Giuliani administration expires.

Under newly proposed rules from the Parks & Rec Department, which currently manages many of the gardens under the Green Thumb program, and the Housing & Preservation Department, whose jurisdiction a smaller number fall, community gardens would specifically not be protected from future development in the same manner as city parks. However, should it be decided a plot of land should be put up for development, an alternate locations should (not must) be provided. " - Source.

Sadness.




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The modest little garden that I found inside the fenced doorway.

Earlier in the day, I took a few photos near Union Square. The light was intoxicating.





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My Flickr.


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