This garden takes its name from the Community of Pleasant Village, the area from 114th to 120th Streets on Pleasant Avenue and west to First Avenue. The neighborhood in turn takes its name from Pleasant Avenue, aptly dubbed for its idyllic location on the coast, a century before construction of the East Side highway.
Originally part of Avenue A according to the 1811 Commissioners’ plan for New York City’s grid, a bend in the river severed Pleasant from the rest of A. Its separate naming in 1879 preserved Pleasant from being absorbed by York Ave. Family farms dotted the rural landscape of East Harlem during much of the 17th and 18th centuries, including those owned by such long-established New York families as the Roosevelts, Astors, Duryeas, and Rhinelanders. Today, thousands of family homes line these same streets, where volunteer community members work the land into urban gardens.
H. David Stein’s unique mosaic of flora is distinctively detailed in his exhibit “Deconstructed...