April 19, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Woodside could see two community gardens soon, as the city is preparing to license out small plots of land in the area to a non-profit and community gardening program.
The two triangular lots in question are on opposite sides of one another by 41-38 69th St., parallel to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway below them and close to Woodside Avenue.
The sites are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, which owns the BQE bridge structure the lots are on.
The lots would be converted to community gardens run by both the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization, and GreenThumb, a NYC Parks program that supports community gardens around the city.
The IRC runs a community gardens initiative aimed at helping arriving refugees and immigrants integrate into their new communities by growing and cultivating a garden with local residents.
Kathleen McTigue, an IRC program manager, referenced the success of an urban farm in the Bronx her group has maintained with GreenThumb for the past five years.
“We wanted to look at an opportunity here in Queens,” she said to Community Board 2’s Land Use meeting. “A lot of our refugee and asylum clients also live along the 7 train corridor.”
The two plots in Woodside, however, are less than half an acre, which would allow for more of a green gathering space than an urban farm, she added.
The gardens would be open to the community at large, including school groups, residents, and local organizations. Alex Muñoz, Assistant Director for Community Engagement at GreenThumb, said the over 500 community gardens around the city are required to open to the community for 20 hours a week at minimum.
Every community garden also comes with a set of by-laws, many of which give priority to community residents for use of the garden beds, he added.
McTigue said the IRC needs to do research on what exactly can be grown on the plots, given its location above the BQE, but would look to start work on the gardens once the licensing agreement kicks off with Community Board 2 approval.
The Land Use committee supported the proposal, on the condition that residents receive priority to the gardens.
The two plots, since chained off, previously saw people growing vegetables on them, and one homeless person who set up an encampment there, the DOT said.
Make two more parks like the one on woodside Avenue and 69. Then there will be more room for the day laborers to hang out and drink.
Why not build two homeless apartment shelters on those lots, or use the air space over the highway/BQE and build housing for the homeless and save the taxpayers millions per year by housing the 154 families from the Fairmont Marriot on Van Dam LIC and the 83 familiers at the Best Western on 39th Street with small efficiency style apartments, instead of making the friends of Mayor DiBlasio, Jimmy Van Bramer and and our CB2 Head of the Planning Commission Lisa Deller rich??
That’s interesting. I guess small scale things like this can get territorial. Maybe the best move would be to get involved and try to make it a good one?
Oops… I think I posted that twice. Sorry.
Community gardens can be both wonderful and horrid. When people take it easy and cooperate, it’s fine. But Too often humans with power issues destroy each other, and the city is no help whatsoever. They allow a renegade group to run a garden that is only open eight hours one day a week. Complaints do no good.
People have done a great job with gardening the land under the overpass on 68th and Northern Blvd., should be the same results here.
That’s great, but they better not allow people to grow food. I can’t imagine how polluted that soil is.
First off, if it’s truly community space, they better not displace that homeless person without good reason. If nothing else, may well be a nice person that might tend to the plants; possibly that in exchange for a bit of homegrown grub.
Second: This is such a better use of space than another apartment building that adds to the overcrowding. Period. End of story.
Lastly: It seems odd to me that such a thing would help new arrivals, immigrant or not, become connected to the community. Encountering others in any given location is largely random, unless previous plans are made – which one can’t do if they’re new and don’t know anyone.
That said, I lived in BX for a long time, in many different neighborhoods, and, up there, it is exponentially harder to meet one’s neighbors or become a part of the community, especially as a newcomer.
So, if this plan produced any kind of results in the Bronx, it should work splendidly in a close-knit place like ours.