A Bit about PVCG History and the Threatened Land

Pleasant Village Community Garden (PVCG), located in East Harlem on Pleasant Avenue between 118 & 119th streets, formed as a community garden around 1973. Through the efforts of GreenThumb and HPD, we gained access to the HPD land in 2011. This lovely extension of the garden - which we cleared of debris and bricks, and transformed and rehabilitated - is now used for:​​

  • Our chicken coop, which hosts six chickens who produce eggs that are shared with the community
     

  • Our compost bin, which collects food scraps from the garden and surrounding community, and thereby diverts 4,000 pounds of organic waste from landfills annually
     

  • Our Children's Garden, where we produce food donated to Edible Schoolyard's locally-sourced and low-priced market located at P.S. 7 (corner of Lexington Ave & East 120th) and the Little Sister of the Assumption East Harlem food pantry.

In December 2014, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) released a request for qualification (RFQ) for 144 "vacant" lots throughout the city to be developed under NIHOP & NCP programs. The PVCG rear lot (Lots 5 & 6, Block 1815) is among these 144 lots, which HPD plans to develop under the Neighborhood Construction Program (NCP).

 

The  goal of the NCP program is to build “small [~15 to 30-unit] affordable multifamily rental developments." The maximum area median income (AMI) allowed through this program is 165% of the AMI. Thus, the building will be able to rent to households of two or more, who earn up to $149,490 or to a single person who earns up to $104,775. The median income in East Harlem was $31,079 during 2010-2012, far below the target range through this so-called affordable project.

 

The City has not yet communicated with garden members about this development nor our impending partial eviction or relocation...

 

We have used this land productively to the benefit of the local community. It is incomprehensible to us how this city-owned, public land can be sold to a private developer for $1.

Why doesn't the City build elsewhere
on a truly vacant lot?

Click on 'honeycomb' for images of HPD land present & past

HPD Land Border

HPD Land Border

Border between HPD land and PVCG circa 2009

Old Fence

Old Fence

The fence that divided the HPD lot from PVCG. It took 5 of us to get the fence and bed frame that had been incorporated into a tree out.

Bricks

Bricks

One of the pile of bricks that we eventually were able to make disappear. Most all gardens sit on destroyed buildings, often due to fires that were intentionally set by building owners. Hence, the ground settles and the bricks come up, and up and up.

Our New HPD Land

Our New HPD Land

A lone picnic table on our newly licensed land. In just a few months, we would have a brand new chicken coop funded by the City Chicken Project and built by outside volunteers and garden members.

CityChicken1

CityChicken1

Old Feathered Friends

Old Feathered Friends

Members of our old chicken flock that now resides at a farm on Long Island.

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

Setting up for our annual halloween event where kids get to pick their pumpkins and get them carved. This is EAST HARLEM.

Children's plot

Children's plot

With garden funds, we built an enclosure for school groups to plant. Gardeners took care of the plants in the summer and kids could come back in fall to see their flowers & harvest their veggies. We now use it to grow food to donate to Edible School Yard and Little Sisters of the Assumption.

Winter rye field

Winter rye field

To amend (make healthy again) the soil, we first planted the pollinator plant field with winter rye, hairy vetch and crimson clover. This is year 1 circa 2013.

Mature Winter Rye

Mature Winter Rye

When the winter rye matures, it and the clover and hairy vetch are tilled into the soil to provide added nitrogen and other nutrients.

WinterRye

WinterRye

It's beautiful.

Perched Chicken

Perched Chicken

One of our lovely chicken ladies perched on a fence made from pruned tree limbs that protect the native pollinator plant field.

Secret Egg Stash

Secret Egg Stash

Sometimes the hen prefer to lay someplace other than the coop.

Echinacea

Echinacea

We started with a few plants of Echinacea and False Indigo...

Goldenrod

Goldenrod

Digger wasp (Solia dubia) on Goldenrod. Thanks to Butterfly Project NYC for the plants.

New York Aster

New York Aster

New York Aster, another one of our native pollinator plant in our field. Thanks to Butterfly Project NYC for the plants.

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan

Black-eyed Susan another one of our native pollinator plant in our field. Thanks to Butterfly Project NYC for the plants.

Mourning Doves

Mourning Doves

An early 'mourning' gathering of mourning doves on the HPD land

Peace under Peach Tree

Peace under Peach Tree

A quiet, peaceful place to sit under the peach tree.

Chickens & Ratty Cat

Chickens & Ratty Cat

The chickens have their local friends.

Roses

Roses

Our corner roses. When the evening sun from the West shines on them, they glow. All of 118 street loves them. We'd hate to disappoint and not have them there anymore.

Spent (dead) Echinacea

Spent (dead) Echinacea

Echinacea is a great flower for providing birds with seed throughout the winter and they make wonderful dried floral displays after the winter is gone.

Community Compost Bin

Community Compost Bin

Our 3-bin community compost system. Built first in 2011 with grant funds from the Solid Waste Advisory Board and Citizens Committee. Residents from all over the neighborhood give us their food scraps and we divert about 4000 lbs a year from the land fill, promoting NYC's goal of Zero Waste by 2030.

Moth Night

Moth Night

Catching moths with a mercury vapor lamp in Pleasant Village Community Garden

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