A management change at the Evergreen Community Garden in Kissena Corridor Park has been rending the very fabric of society in Auburndale, Queens. Last year the NYC Parks Department sparked outrage by taking over a 5-acre garden that local residents, many of them elderly Korean-Americans, had spent decades transforming from a trash-strewn lot into a lush oasis. The city claimed that a few Korean-American families had turned the garden into their personal fiefdom, excluding outsiders and even improperly selling produce, and so the Parks Department simply installed a new manager. And that meant WAR.
"When we made it into a farm, you have no idea how hard it was," former garden manager San Ok Kim told the Wall Street Journal through a translator. "It took five years. Now it's scary, like a war zone." To protest the city takeover, Kim, 75, went on a hunger strike. And when that didn't seem to get anyone's attention, he "clutched a lighter and container of gasoline, threatening to light himself on fire if he didn't get his old job back," officials tell the Journal.
And here's video of a fight that broke out at a press conference at the garden:
The man seen screaming in the video was injured in the fight and spent three days in a nearby hospital. He told the Journal he was "simply reacting to the situation,” adding, "The fighting has gotten bad and we need to stop." There have also been death threats and nearby schools had to be locked down when the NYPD sent a hostage negotiation team to the garden. But hey, at least nobody's blowing any of this out of proportion!