Tuesday, May 15, 2007


UP FRONT News May 7, 2007
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.” www.tomsupfrontnews.blogspot.com


Mayor Michael Bloomberg talks about “greening” New York City. As far as I am aware, regardless of any of his politically correct public relations campaigns, the main “green” ingredient to Bloomberg’s politics is cash. Very similar to the color code followed by Cheney/Bush and Hillary Clinton among many others in politics.

Among the venues for true botanical “green” are New York’s urban gardens, many under assault from real estate developers, who have been given pretty much free reign
by Mr. Bloomberg, aided and abetted by the developer and Hillary Clinton-friendly City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

One of the battles is taking place at the Children’s Magical Garden on Stanton Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, an oasis of play and learning for kids and families for several decades. Developer Serge (“Surge”) Hoyda has obtained ownership of 1/3 of the Garden and wants the rest to put up a building for rich people, with a few apartments to be somewhat euphemistically classified as “affordable.” At a recent meeting at ABC No Rio, representatives for City Councilman Alan Gerson revealed that if Hoyda doesn’t get his way and is limited to 1/3 of the land, he will build there – but only for the rich. Mr. Hoyda wants the Garden moved to another location. Based upon the apparently unani- mous view expressed by community residents and activists, including Garden caretaker Alfredo Feliciano (his late wife Carmen Rubio started the Garden), at the meeting, Mr. Hoyda is between a Garden and a hard place. The Lower East Side needs luxury housing about as much as it needs Halliburton and is (respectfully) insisting that Mr. Hoyda leave.

The Children’s Magical Garden is one of many gardens that the developers want for only one reason, which is to make more money. Activists including Aresh Javadi, found- er of the Bronx-based More Gardens and Rebecca Moore, the musician who founded the Ludlow Orchard Community Organization (LOCO), prefer the gardens to the money and to Serge’s “surge.” Although I live in relatively bucolic Staten Island, as a very frequent visitor to the Lower East Side, as far as I am concerned, as in Iraq, I oppose the “surge.”
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