In local urban-greening news, an ambitious gardening project has recently opened in Greenpoint. The 6,000 square-foot Eagle Street rooftop farm was created by farmers Annie Novack and Ben Flanner along with GoodeGreen, a green roof design and installation firm. Located on the roof of a former bagel factory, the farm just began yielding its first crops including salad greens, tomatoes, and spring onions. This summer, they will be holding gardening workshops most Sundays and you can also stop by to purchase produce. They have even begun supplying some local restaurants with greens for salads. This weekend they will be hosting a few events including “Solstice Sunset Yoga” on the longest day of the year, this Sunday, June 21st, for a donation of $20.
Community gardens are a fixture in both the EV and in BK. One of my favorites is the Sixth Street and Avenue B Community Garden. The restoration of this lush, green space began back in 1982 and the garden has been a vital part of the local community ever since. Many of the East Village gardens feature art of all kinds, but this garden was once home to one of the most notorious public art pieces in the area, a five-story “Tower of Toys” created by local artist Eddie Boros that was torn-down last year. Although the looming tower is gone, the garden is open every Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. and hosts many events including lectures, musical performances, films, and children’s workshops. It’s definitely worth checking out!
The More Gardens! Coalition is a grass-roots organization creating and protecting community gardens all over NYC. Formed over a decade ago in 1998, they describe themselves as “a group of community people, gardeners, and environmental and social justice activists who promote the development and preservation of community gardens as well as the cultivation of fallow land in New York City.” They have an extensive list of community gardens in all 5 boroughs, so click here to check out some gardens near you.
On a larger scale, the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), founded by actress and singer Bette Midler in 1995, is also focused on cleaning up and transforming abandoned open spaces into community gardens. The NYRP has already transformed dozens of abandoned or misused lots, they currently have 57 community gardens throughout the five boroughs. In 2007, the NYRP launched the MillionTreesNYC Project with Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Parks Department. The goal of the MillionTreesNYC project is to plant one million trees in one decade (as of today they are up to 238,791 new trees, according to their website.) The NYRP mailers and site point out that “the average New York City resident produces almost one and a half tons of carbon in a single year.” But there is some good news: one broad-leaf tree can take in and purify a little more that half your carbon output for one year in the course of it’s 100-year lifespan. So I guess the point is if you plant two trees a year, every year, you’re even with Mother Nature. So get on it! To join, donate, or volunteer with the NYRP, click here.
Some perfect music to enjoy while relaxing in your community garden this week are the two albums by Brooklyn-based artist St. Vincent. St. Vincent in the stage name of Annie Clark, an otherworldly vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Before her solo career she was a member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band. Her debut album, Marry Me, came out in 2007. Her vocal style is an ethereal mix of Feist, Kate Bush, and Annie Lennox, with shades of Carly Simon. Join this to her off-center rhythms, mysterious lyrics, and melodic arrangements, and it all comes together to form a captivating sound that you won’t soon forget.
St. Vincent’s new album, Actor, was just released on May 5th. You can hear selections from Actor on “All Songs Considered” on NPR, which featured a concert by St. Vincent and her band (Evan Smith on woodwind, William Flynn on bass, Daniel Hart on violin, and Anthony Lamarca on drums) that was recorded live at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C.
She’ll be back in town next week on June 24th for her debut performance on The Late Show with David Letterman before embarking on a European tour. She will return stateside for her August 1st performance at the All Points West Festival.
St. Vincent – Landmines:
A big shout out to our SF correspondent JVM, for turning me on to St. Vincent in the first place!