BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Spring came into the Jefferson Market Garden with a roar — no, not of a lion…but an out-of-control, speeding yellow taxi.
The cab went wildly crashing through the garden’s metal fence early Sunday morning.
George Paulos, the chairperson of the garden, at Sixth and Greenwich Aves., said that, according to the police report, the taxi slammed into the green oasis at 2:30 a.m. It knocked out the bars in four sections of the fence, though the trellis on top somehow remarkably remained intact.
The hack hit the fence along the small section of W. Ninth St. that runs between the two avenues, so Paulos thinks the driver must have gone zooming right over Ruth Wittenberg Triangle.
Paulos said when he went by at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, the car’s tire tracks were still visible inside the garden.
The cabbie reportedly told police that he mistakenly hit the gas instead of the break. Paulos figures the driver had to be coming up Sixth Ave. to achieve a fast enough speed to ram right through the fence.
A few trees were damaged, but luckily no one was hurt, Paulos added.
“Normally, there’s people in there. There’s a bench not far from that spot,” he noted, though the garden doesn’t open until 10 a.m.
The driver — who had no passenger — was uninjured and reportedly did not seek medical attention.
In the meantime, the Parks Department has put up black storm fencing to cover the hole, and it’s hoped the barrier will be fixed so the garden can open by April 8. Three of the fence’s knocked-out poles were damaged beyond repair, but a lot of them can be reused to fix the fence, according to the garden chairperson.
Paulos said it looks like Parks will fix things and pay for the job, though the garden does have insurance, if needed.
The fence was donated in 1998 by the late philanthropist Brooke Astor.
“It was Mrs. Astor’s last donation,” Paulos said. “She came down to look at the garden.”
The garden’s members hope it will win funding in the current “participatory budgeting” voting going on this week for Council District 3, to pay for decorative fencing to replace a section of plain chain-link fence next to a parking lot used by the adjacent Jefferson Market Library branch.