W 104th Street Garden
W. 104 St., Manhattan Ave., Central Park W.
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The West 104th Street Garden
Over seventy households actively maintain the garden during the growing season. Individuals, as well as organizations such as the Junior League, the Jewish Community Center, and Columbia University’s Community Impact program contribute their time to keeping the site accessible, active and in good ‘garden’ health. The community has hosted flea markets, seasonal parties, open houses, movie showings, and a community health fair in this garden.
For two decades, these twin lots lay vacant. In 1993, the North West Central Park Multi-block Association provided the financial and organizational support to clean up the lots. Further assistance came from Operation GreenThumb, a Parks initiative that facilitates the transformation of vacant city lots into community gardens. GreenThumb, which is funded largely by community-block grants from the federal Housing and Urban Development program, enabled the West 104th Street community to purchase the garden tools and materials like seeds and topsoil needed to convert the vacant property into a garden.
The history of the garden is a chronicle of community involvement. In 1998, members of the garden community successfully lobbied to have the property transferred to Parks to insure its permanence as a public park. On August 12, 1998, the City transferred the garden to Parks. The West 104th Street Garden is an expression of local residents’ ability to build and maintain open green spaces for the community.