East Village Community Gardens Field Trip

Parque de Tranquilidad Community Garden

Design:

This garden has a strong overall design with plants growing organically. Some sections appear to be more well kept whilst others have plants growing onto the pathway. It appeared to be operated by a strong community as there is a mixture of a variety of different things ranging from the inclusion of public and private seating areas, socializable areas and a variety of flowers. Not only that, the flowers are well kept. What fascinated me was the fact that in comparison to other gardens, this garden’s design correlates to a typical British garden through its use of pathways made out of stones. This garden is organized with a hierarchy system where different plants are put on different levels. There are large trees which are more grounded whilst there are individual pot plants that are raised. The topography of the garden is pretty wavy as there are wavy pathways due to the growth of the roots of the trees.

Systems:

Occasionally, the birds and bees would pay a visit, but there is no sign of a beehive. However, as the garden used to be a synagogue, there are unwanted rodents like rats. There were hoses throughout the entire garden on different corners. No pond was present but I have noticed bowls on the floor that collects rainwater. As most of the garden’s current members are older, the garden is finding it difficult to find younger residents in New York City that is willing to commit to taking care of the garden. However, this might be because although there are a lot of students that live around the area, they either do not wish to commit to another responsibility or they’re international students that do not live in New York City.

Engagement: 

The garden used to be an open public space. However, cases like people stealing from the garden and illegal activities have started happening which have led to it being closed off to the public. They do have open hours sometime during the weekend or for special occasions. One of the passerby’s had mentioned that although he frequently passes by this garden, he never lived close enough to be a member or to spend time in the garden, but he liked the aesthetics of the garden.

 

El Jardín Del Paraiso

Design:

This garden was definitely designed with a specific structure: which is to have a large open space for members to interact with each other during their free time. As it is a private garden, it has definitely achieved its purpose. There is also a small sitting area that is secluded which allows the members to have a more private space. This small sitting space is probably one of my favourite aspects of this garden. This garden also appears to be more casually operated, as there are bushes that were not trimmed.

Systems: 

There wasn’t a lot of animals in the garden when we visited, as we only saw a squirrel. However, due to the number of trees in this garden, there should be birds. We interviewed one of the ladies that was resting there, but the interview was hurried as she needed to leave. I saw a hose in the corner of the garden with the vegetable produce, so it could be deducted that natural rainfall and hand watering sustains the garden. There is a private group that runs the garden but this garden did not seem to fit the surrounding neighbourhood system as the east village appears to be a very communal area instead of a private one.

Engagement: 

This is a private garden that is closed off to the public. However, on the sign outside it does state that they have open hours in which the garden is open to the public. The woman we interviewed had told us that we weren’t allowed inside. She did however said that she’s spent a big amount of her time in this garden but was not yet an official member due to her living in Brooklyn. She didn’t know much about the history of the park, but according to the park’s website, there are a lot of programs held here that includes films for children, puppet events and a biodiversity project with the Earth School and Tompkins Square Middle School.

La Plaza Cultural – Armando Perez

Design:

This garden has a strong overall design, but it appears to be a more child-friendly garden due to the inclusion of things like a sandbox. This garden appears to be quite messy. However, this might be due to the construction happening in the back. Beyond that construction, there is a gazebo that I thought makes the garden stand out in comparison to the other gardens nearby. There wasn’t any produce or flowers grown in this garden, but there are multiple plants that appear to be growing out naturally from the ground.

Systems: 

There are some birds in this garden, with no signs of squirrels or rats. There are no ponds or any rainwater collection method around the garden, so it might solely be the rainfall that sustains the garden.

I’m uncertain as to who runs this garden but the presence of community appears to be the strongest out of all the gardens I’ve visited due to their Halloween decorations. There is also a flyer on the outside board regarding a Halloween event that would take place. This garden, however, does seem to be more targeted towards kids, which I think is very efficient due to East Village being a very busy family neighbourhood.

Engagement:

There was no one near the garden that we could interview. However, as someone who lives nearby, I’m really excited about the garden to fully open, as I think it would be the perfect space for me to read and relax. This garden also appears to be very welcoming and loved by their members, as their constantly events and decorations happening in the garden. Signs were also posted to invite the public to join. I do not know much about the garden’s history but according to their website, the garden is created as an effort to improve the neighbourhood as back then drugs, and arson was very common in that area.

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