Named for a settlement begun by merchant John Pitkin in 1835 that he hoped would someday grow as a great rival to New York, East New York (there IS a West New York…in New Jersey) has certainly had its ups and downs over the decades. These days it’s making a comeback with new housing units, a gritty spirit of community pride, and its hidden jewels…community gardens that are thriving despite City Hall’s ambivalance toward them.
Ujima Garden, New Jersey Avenue and Riverdale Street
Riverdale and Alabama Avenues
New housing is now filling the formerly empty lots of Brownsville, New Lots and East New York.
Livonia Avenue and Hendrix Street
East New York can also brag about some vintage, well kept brownstone buildings.
Georgia Avenue Garden, at New Lots Avenue, is a working mini-farm that provides a small green space as well as eggplant, corn, tomatoes and other edibles, and birch and cherry trees.
East New Yorkers Michael Moody and James Worth began the garden in a former vacant lot in 1992. It became a part of the NYC Parks Department in 1998, although it continues to be completely maintained by the ENY community.
SUCCESS GARDEN, Livonia and Williams Avenues
Cranberries, blueberries, conifers and fruit trees are part of Success Garden at Livonia and Williams Avenues, in the shadow of the el. Success Garden is a product of the Migratory Bird Restoration Project of the the East New York Urban Youth Corps.
The pond is a self-contained ecosystem. Water plants shelter turtles, bullfrogs, crayfish and small catfish, and mockingbirds, sparrows and the occasional egret are drawn in. The pool is funded by the Urban Resources Partnership.
Willows provide the main shade. There are also ornamental cherry trees, red maples, azaleas, daffodils and many more. Most of the trees are native to this area. Students from nearby PS 174 and PS13 use the site for recreation and clas projects.
NEW VISION GARDEN, Livonia and Schenck Avenues
New Vision provides produce for a nearby farmers’ market on New Lots Avenue.
Thanks to David Crutchfield for assistance with this page.