Earth Day action: Elizabeth Street Garden joins coalition to fight for NYC green spaces

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Joseph Reiver, the executive director at Elizabeth Street Garden and volunteers.
Photo by Dean Moses

Lower Manhattan’s Elizabeth Street Garden is joining with parkland activists all over the city to call upon elected officials and candidates running for office to save at-risk green spaces this Earth Day.

The small one-acre paradise located between Prince and Spring Streets has been fighting its own battle to maintain its lush, foliage amidst a bustling city. Although their legal struggle is still ongoing, Elizabeth Street Garden is teaming up with East River Park Action and a litany of fellow groups through a citywide initiative in order to raise awareness for comparable parks and green zones that are in danger of being redeveloped.    

The entrance to Elizabeth Street garden. Photo by Dean Moses
The garden is a scenic space for New Yorkers to enjoy. Photo by Dean Moses

“Green space has always been a vital part of New York City. Throughout this global pandemic, the need for our parks, community gardens, and open spaces has been emphasized more than ever before,” part of a joint statement from the 10 activist groups read.

While this call to preserve New York’s dwindling public landscape is a plea these organizations hope is heard by all citizens which prompts them to get involved in activism, their particular focus is on elected officials and those running for office this year.

Joseph Reiver, the executive director at Elizabeth Street Garden, told amNewYork Metro that he feels many politicians make statements standing by environmental protection but will then vote otherwise.

Kathryn Gibb and Maha Mamoor enjoy the sun in the Elizabeth Street. garden. Photo by Dean Moses 
Kathryn Gibb enjoys the tranquility of painting amidst the greenery. Photo by Dean Moses

“This is to address those statements. For all the elected officials preparing to make a big statement about how we need to protect the environment, they got to put their money where their mouth is, they got to put the option there, and they need to be specific about it,” Reiver said.

While much of the demand rests upon the shoulders of those elected, the initiative is also seeking the aid of those who do the electing. In addition to sharing a graphic over social media with the hashtag #EarthDayActionNYC, the program is also reminding New Yorkers’ that their votes count, and to inform those running for public service that at-risk green spaces are important issues for them going forward.

Activists want social media users to share this graphic to help save green spaces using the #EarthDayActionNYC

“It’s a citywide issue. Often times elected officials and sometimes even candidates don’t treat it as such, they kind of pigeonhole these issues as local issues when they are not, it is reflective of a much bigger issue,” Reiver said.             

From Elizabeth Street Garden and East River Park Action to across the river at Metro Area Governors Island Coalition and Graniteville Wetlands, these organizations are aiming to prove what effects one New Yorker effects all New Yorkers.

The full statement is available here: EarthDayAction_JointStatement

Elizabeth Street Garden is still fighting for its survival. Photo by Dean Moses