Group coordinates rejuvenation of empty lots in New York City
Last spring, in the dissipating March chill, I found myself in Brooklyn extricating chunks of concrete from the soil with a minuscule spade, hauling branches twice my size across the frosty ground and staggering behind wheelbarrows loaded with bricks. This was community gardening, and it was a workout.
That garden in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section exists today because of 596 Acres, a nonprofit group that took its name from a preliminary count of Brooklyn’s unused land lots and has just marked its first anniversary. Founded for the purpose of rejuvenating vacant city-owned land in New York, it has granted licenses to groups and individuals for transforming over 40 acres of property. The effort began last fall in Brooklyn and recently began inching into Manhattan and Queens.