2013-04-22 – Times Up! takes over Williamsburg lot as first garden – City Atlas

Times Up! takes over Williamsburg lot as first garden
City Atlas
April 22, 2013
By Shannon Ayala


Times Up! took over a vacant lot on South 5th Street in Williams­burg, just across the street from its South 6th Street head­quar­ters and in plain view of the Williams­burg Bridge.

“We just walked in,” said Ben­jamin Shep­ard, an orga­nizer with the city’s grass­roots envi­ron­men­tal group.

Com­mu­nity gar­dens are a big part of the group’s his­tory. At the end of the late ’90s Giu­liani period, Times Up! took part in orga­niz­ing direct actions to pre­serve hun­dreds of com­mu­nity gar­dens that sud­denly went on the mar­ket. At that point, twenty-year-old leases given to gar­den­ers in the 1970s, when guer­rilla gar­den­ers took over aban­doned lots, had expired. To save the gar­dens from an admin­is­tra­tion set on turn­ing the spaces over to devel­op­ers, activists, from Times Up! and else­where, used var­i­ous tac­tics includ­ing wear­ing flower head dresses and chain­ing them­selves to gardens.

But in its twenty-five years of action, Times Up! has never had its own com­mu­nity garden.

“Times Up! has been about pub­lic space, defend­ing pub­lic space for a long, long time,” said Shep­ard. “And cre­at­ing a gar­den is just another step in that process.”

Gothamist reported that the city plans on leas­ing the lot out for an afford­able hous­ing project in the near future. Hence the name of the gar­den, “Noth­ing Yet Com­mu­nity Garden.”

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