Which people, you might ask. According to Frank, caretaker of the Lower Ease Side People’s Garden, all people. Not bad.
For those of you just tuning in, I’m in Chinatown and while looking for a cottage-industry tannery somewhere near the Bureau Gallery, I stumbled across this gem of outdoor space in New York City.
If you’re one of those bridge and tunnel people like myself, vacant lots turned into mini tomato, zucchini, and potato patches are both totally awesome and pretty common.
However, in addition to fruits, Frank’s garden also has:
It’s really the tinfoil roll in back that makes it art. And that’s not all.
A lot of community gardens are just for the members, which is all well and good. But what about the rest of us who have neither the time nor the money to go digging in the dirt and want to enjoy the urban outdoors? Sure there’s Central Park. But who wants to take the Lexington Line? Or circumnavigate the perambulating Met-goers in a trance from all the Greco-Roman art?
It’s also the size of the People’s Garden, or rather, lack there of, that makes it appealing. At less than a quarter acre, it gives a sense of intimacy that you can’t get in the larger, more crowded public spaces of NYC. In fact, it’s a bit like Gramercy without the locked gate and old money waving you off their lawn with canes.
But, the greatest thing about the LESPG (Lower East Side People’s Garden – I have a thing for acronyms) is the kitsch, the perfect campyness of it. And not in a bad way. There’s about a thousand and one aspiring artists in Williamsburg who would give their right eye, leg, and arm to be able to curate a space this cool. It’s authentic, welcoming, and utterly Lower East Side.
But of course, I forgot to write down where this is, so your only choice is to wander aimlessly until you find it. Having done it myself, I can tell you it’s not a bad way to spend the day. In fact, you couldn’t do much better.
Later this week, the roller coasters of Coney Island. You must be at least this tall to ride.