The Bureaucrats' Dance Or, the City Tries to Justify its Garden Policy with commentary by Jayne Doe
 

Why the City Wants to Auction Off 119 Community Gardens in May 1999

Why the City Transferred All the Community Gardens into the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (Spring 1998)

What the City Says About the Garden Protesters

 
Why the City Wants to Auction Off 119 Community Gardens in May 1999

LETTER FROM HIGH-LEVEL GIULIANI STAFFER TO THE STEWARD OF A BROOKLYN COMMUNITY GARDEN

Dear Father Crispo:

    Thank you for writing to express your support for community gardens in New York City. Mayor Giuliani has long been a strong supporter of public open space and parks. In fact during the Mayor's term, he has increased the City's parkland by 1,540 acres.

    Community gardens are city-owned vacant lots that were transferred temporarily to the Department of Parks and Recreation in 1978 and then to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development in 1998. The Department of Parks and Recreation granted temporary license agreements to community groups, who were permitted to use the lots as gardens with the understanding that the land would be reclaimed by the City for housing and economic development at a later date.

    Communities cultivating the gardens have always been aware that the license agreements were never intended to be permanent.

    Many of these gardens are located in communities that have a great need for increased low and middle-income housing. ["Therefore, rather than addressing any of these communities' needs, we want to deliver publicly owned community institutions into the hands of real-estate speculators."] Therefore, the Mayor's decision to auction a number of community gardens reflects the City's original intent to use these vacant lots [that just happen to contain gardens] for housing and economic development [translation: parking lots, gas stations, things that are so important to developing strong neighborhoods] and balance the competing interests of the needs of the city.

    With regards to Our Lady of Peace/Gil Hodges Memorial Garden, I have visited the garden myself and spoken at great length to people in the community. Based on this review, the Mayor has decided the property is best used as a meeting and greeting place for seniors, children and members of the community. Subsequently, the garden has been removed from the May auction list.

Thank you again for writing to share your concerns.

Sincerely, Jake Menges

Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

Chief of Staff

Office of the Deputy Mayor for Operations

 



Why the City Transferred All the Community Gardens into the Department of Housing Preservation

and Development (Spring 1998)

THE INITIAL VERSION

MEMORANDUM

DATE: April 24, 1998

TO: City Land Committee Members [the CLC is an appointed body within City government with jurisdiction over inter-agency land transfers]

FROM: Mary A. Bolton, Department of Housing Preservation and Development [the mid-level housing bureaucrat who manages HPD's effort to develop on community garden sites]

RE: CLC Hold and Transfer of Property

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development requests emergency CLC holds and transfer of the 741 lots on the attach