Last week a real estate developer sent workers into the Children's Magical Garden on the Lower East Side to erect a fence protecting the portion of the parcel he owns. Shocked that the developer would destroy a swath of the garden used by schoolchildren since 1982 in a neighborhood that is sprouting swanky private social clubs and $3,400 studio apartments, students and community members attempted to stop the work, but were thwarted by NYPD officers and private security guards. Times Up! documented the garden's destruction, and one li'l activist's attempts to make his voice heard.
Several years ago developer Serge Hoyda bought around a third of the land, and has since argued that allowing children to use the portion of the garden he owns is an insurance liability. An attorney for the developer who was on scene last week told us, "The park is a safety issue. It's obvious."
City Councilmember Margaret Chin has been negotiating with Hoyda to reach a compromise, but called his decision to install the fence last week "not the best solution nor the act of a good neighbor." According to the Lo-Down, Chin and supporters of the garden arranged for insurance coverage last week after Hoyda's workers entered the garden.
Community Board 3 is expected to discuss the fate of Children's Magical Garden on June 13.
A message left with one of Hoyda's property managers has not been returned.