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Ouch! Mosquitoes Force Closure of Community Garden

IMG_0224Stephen Rex Brown The dormant construction site next to the garden that is owned by the Educational Alliance. Green thumbs say it is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Alphabet City’s community gardens always feel like verdant refuges from city life, but lately Orchard Alley Community Garden has seemed downright tropical.

IMG_0229Stephen Rex Brown Check out the bites on Steven Matthews’ leg.

Yesterday swarms of mosquitoes forced members of the garden on East Fourth Street near Avenue D to close it indefinitely. The itchy green thumbs point to an adjacent stalled construction site owned by Educational Alliance as the insects’ breeding grounds.

“I was here playing catch with my son; after 10 or 15 minutes we had to go,” said Steven Matthews, whose legs were covered in bites from a recent visit.

Until the pools of water at the site are cleaned up the garden, which is open to the public whenever one of its 15 members is present, will remain closed.

Ayo Harrington, the head of the garden, won’t walk on the same side of the street as the garden, and said she’d been taking double-doses of Benadryl to keep the itching at bay. Read more…

‘Radical Faeries’ Celebrate Gay Activist’s Centennial

harryhay1Melvin Felix

A group of over 30 people gathered Saturday afternoon at Le Petit Versailles community garden to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of gay activist Harry Hay.

Mr. Hay, who died of lung cancer in 2002, was one of the first advocates of the concept of gay rights in the 1950s. He co-founded the Mattachine Society only to be expelled due to his Communist beliefs; later, he and others created the Radical Faeries, a spiritual society of gay men with sanctuaries around the world.

Peter Sturman, who joined the group shortly after coming out in his early twenties, said the faeries almost spoiled him to the realities of the outside world. “We go into a separate space and we get to suspend the rules of society,” he said. Read more…

On 2nd St., A Dispute Over a Garden

Teri Hagan, Peach Tree community garden 3Chelsia Rose Marcius Teri Hagen says that she is being unfairly denied access to the Peach Tree Community Garden on East Second Street. Those who manage the memberships at the garden deny any wrongdoing.

At the entrance of the Peach Tree Community Garden on Second Street between Avenues B and C stands a small, decorative sign bearing a one-word message: “Welcome” — seven letters that most take as a friendly invitation to enter.

But some residents say they’ve been locked out of this urban green space for at least nine months, and after voicing multiple complaints to Green Thumb, Community Board 3 and City Council District 2, one says she’s fed up with feeling overlooked.

“We have a right to be here, this is a community and everyone has to have a say,” said Teri Hagan, 75, who lives on East Second Street just across the street from the garden.
Read more…