Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Finding Patches of Green in Brooklyn: Go to Bed-Stuy

October 17th, 2008 · 2 Comments

[Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Carb…/Picassa]

New York Magazine has released its October issue Home Design: The Country in the City. In contrast to the economic worries that are plaguing the nation’s thoughts, Home Design takes a look at ‘the good life’ of verdant roof top Edens, idyllic spatial gardens and stylish modern dwellings. Oh, to dream the impossible dream. Nevertheless, in the concrete and iron landscape that is our fair city it is nice to notice the touches of green: “Whether we’re the gardeners or merely the grateful recipients, being around green makes us slow down a moment and think about something other than global Sturm und Drang.” So where can a regular Joe find a green space to call his own?

They’re in Bedford-Stuyvesant, of course.

1. Hattie Carthan Garden. Marcy Ave., bet. Lafayette Ave. and Clifton Pl. One of Brooklyn’s largest community gardens (almost an acre) and always buzzing. Its 60 members tend individual plots but also oversee a multitude of activities—cooking classes, tastings, kids’ activities. I snapped a picture of Mrs. Olatunji the day I visited.

2. Cedar Tree Garden. Greene Ave. nr. Classon Ave. Cecil Prince started clearing this lot 30 years ago with his father, not long after they arrived from Guyana, and he’s still hauling the rocks around. Today, twenty members garden there, producing vegetables, fruit, and flowers. He started planting peach trees twenty years ago; now there are four.

3. Target Community Garden. 931-933 Bedford Ave., nr. Willoughby Ave. One of two NYRP gardens sponsored by the retailer, this 4,000-square-foot garden is open to everyone during the day (unlike some community gardens which have much more limited hours). Local resident Judy Jones gave me a tour. “When you come through the gates, you just let go,” she says. The neighborhood uses it for cookouts, baby showers, dinners. There are 35 members; twelve have plots and raise vegetables.

4. Spencer Street Garden. Spencer St. nr. De Kalb Ave. A sliver of a garden presided over by the redoubtable Lashon Allen, who, against all odds, staves off the circling developers and marshalls enthusiastic volunteers who lend their expertise in planting vegetable and flower beds.

Do you have a favorite community garden? Share your green space in the comments.
E.C. Stephens

Tags: Bed-Stuy

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Xris (Flatbush Gardener) // Oct 18, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Those gardens and 6 others were on the recent Green With Envy Tour of Bed-Stuy community gardens organized by the Brooklyn Community Gardeners Coalition. The Tours visited 29 green spaces this year, with more in the works for next year.

  • 2 jt // Oct 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    when i first came across garden #3, Target Community Garden, i stopped short in shock. i couldn’t believe my eyes. i was tremendously impressed. it also gave me a great feeling of calm. love it! and i think i will stroll by tomorrow!