On the eve of a public hearing about the Park's Department's new proposed rules to allow community gardens to be transferred to housing developers, Time's Up has put together this montage video showing various gardens getting bulldozed over the years. The video kicks off with rare footage of the 21-year-old Esperanza Community Garden being bulldozed in 2002, including the twenty-foot coqui (sculpture of a frog) that "served as a symbol of resistance to ward off intruders."
After arresting a couple dozen activists who had locked themselves inside, Esperanza, located on East Seventh Street between Avenues B and C, was razed; it took the bulldozers 15 minutes to demolish the garden. This happened on the same day that then-Attorney General Spitzer had successfully procured a temporary restraining order on development of all Greenthumb gardens (except Esperanza, which, as it was already destroyed, was left out of the deal). Spitzer later remarked that Bloomberg had “subverted the legal process” by destroying the garden just as the case was being heard in court.
According to Time's Up, there are fewer than 300 remaining Community Gardens. The City is currently denying that the 2002 Preservation Agreement ("Spitzer Agreement") included permanent protections for the gardens, but in this 2002 press release announcing the agreement, Mayor Bloomberg says, "We are providing permanent protection to hundreds of community gardens throughout New York City."Tomorrow's public hearing takes place at the Chelsea Recreation Center at 425 West 25th Street at 10:30 a.m.