elizabeth street garden

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Gabriel Byrne, Electeds Try to Save Elizabeth St. Garden From New Threat

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Walking down Soho’s Elizabeth Street can feel like a neverending vortex of high-class retail, where the designer clothing racks outnumber the people. That is, until you arrive at the lush, green Elizabeth Street Garden, between Prince and Spring Streets. The green “oasis” (as many have dubbed it) and community hub is once again being actively considered for a site for affordable senior housing, a decision that has long been opposed by Community Board 2 but supported by the area’s City Council member Margaret Chin.

The 20,000-square-foot garden is city-owned, but privately leased by gallerist Allan Reiver, who initially planned to use it to store his sculptures but opened it up as a unique respite from the city’s concrete surroundings, full of colorful flowers, green grass, seating areas, and many eye-catching sculptures. Volunteer-run, the garden has been used for community events, education, performances, film screenings, and an annual Harvest Festival. Some of these events draw hundreds of people, located in a neighborhood the NYC Parks Department has previously identified as “underserved by open space.”

Last week, news surfaced that the NYC Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) had officially issued a Request for Proposals to develop the land the garden stands on. Wednesday afternoon, dozens gathered in the garden for a press conference, bearing signs and passionately asserting their garden’s right to remain where it is.

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Hope Springs at Elizabeth St. Garden, as City Is Denied Construction Funds

via Elizabeth Street Garden

via Elizabeth Street Garden facebook

Daffodils are already peeking their heads up at the Elizabeth Street Garden, welcoming early spring-time wanderers to park their shopping bags on a bench amid the antique sculptures, or spread out on the grass. The park, once inaccessible, has been having a renaissance of sorts– often as a perfect Instagrammable respite for model-types weary of traipsing through Soho.

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