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Paraíso


Where can you find a rooster, chickens, ducks, rabbits, a turtle pond, a dog, herbs, grapes, tomatoes, and other produce being grown locally, with an octagonal tree house built at the base of a willow tree? In Manhattan, at El Jardin del Paraiso on East 5th Street between Avenues C and D.

Normally, this area, deep in the heart of the very East Village, will be not be visited by visitors or residents of New York City. Even outsiders, slumming in the neighborhood, will not typically venture further east than Avenues B & C.

The East Village is a mecca for community gardens. Many of these are absolutely extraordinary, idyllic urban oases. Some small, some larger – El Jardin is very large, extending through 5th to 4th streets, with an entrance at both streets. There is an open air cabana with a table, seating, and a hammock. Numerous awards and achievements have been bestowed upon El Jardin del Paraiso, including The National Wildlife Award and the Molly Parnis Dress Up Your Neighborhood Award. Read more at the East Village Parks Conservancy garden’s website here.

In my tour of the garden, I encountered Cano, a local resident who was taking matters into his own hands. He complained of lack of progress on the part of those who manage the community garden. I have been witness to this type of community infighting and stalled efforts, so my sympathies were with him. He has invested over $10,000 of his own money to date and has recruited a few others to rehab the garden, which is now in a state of disrepair. He did not appear to be a power-hungry local activist spinning information to wrest control of the garden.

A visit to the Jardin’s website shows a last update in 2006, so I got a sense that whatever visions and projects there were for this plot, momentum and drive do appear to have been lost. There is still a calendar, however, of events/activities in the garden.

They say paraíso, I say paradise :)

Photo Note: The white bird is a Silkie, a breed of chicken with unique, fluffy feathers. The chicken is known for its docile nature and is often kept as a pet. The flesh is dark blue/black and. although somewhat unappealing to the Western palate, is considered a delicacy in Asia.
Origin of the Silkie is China/Asia.

Visit the following related links: Shangri-La, Devil’s Playground, La Plaza Cultural Garden, Grapes, Stay Lean Stay HungryUrban Oasis, Alberts GardenWest Side Community GardenBird Country, Hua Mei Bird Garden

9 Responses to Paraíso

  1. Someone Said says:

    That is spectacular.

  2. NYC needs more hammocks.

  3. Someone Said – No question. I highly recommend visiting the East Village community gardens

    Naomid – 'Tis true, if New Yorkers can relax in them.

  4. Floral Friday says:

    I love the look. I grew up on a farm and to know this happens in NYC is crazy. I adore the Silky Chickens they were my favorite growing up. We were allowed to have them as pets. They are so soft.

    Floral Friday

  5. Floral Friday – This stuff is crazy and I love to discvoer it – both for myself and also to share it with readers of this website. Until I saw them this weekend, I was not familiar with Silky chickens. I was also surprised that such a fluffy, white bird would produce black flesh.

  6. merci pour ce superbe voyage que tu nous offres ;O)

  7. As A member Of El Jardin Del Paraiso for 26 years I know all of the history. El Jardin has gone through much change in the past 5 years, and I am proud to say I helped. The board has gotten grants totaling $75,000.00 and has done much to make the park safer for our children. The entire park was recapped. Laying an 18 inch barrier between the lead and those that stroll the pathways was completed in 2008. The wetlands, & river bed were added during that time. That Cano was fustrated by the slow wheels of progress is true. He is not alone. He was not around much while the renovation of the park was going on, and has no idea of what the steering committee has accomplished. To say that nothing gets done is entirely untrue. It was great that Cano did invest time and money to build a Casita($10,000 is an exageration). While many people enjoy looking at the rabbits, and ducks it seems that these cute animals are not allowed to reside in NYC parks. The building of the casita was not approved by Greem Thumb, or the board. Cano's addition of too many animals has caused a problem. The end result was that our yearly Green Thumb Lease signing has been put on hold due to non adherance to the city's regulations. The removal of the rabbits, ducks, and pigeon coop must be done ASAP. The main concept behind community gardens is that the community works together. One person doing whatever he pleases changes the dynamic of community. The board appreciates all volunteer efforts made by community members. Stop in and see what El Jardin is about. I will take you on a tour, and give you a membership application.
    Annie

  8. I am a member of the community that surrounds El Jardin Del Paraiso for 14 years now. It has only been in the past couple of years have I noticed sweeping changes, and they are not due to $75,000 worth of funding. They are not due to 'board' activities. They are due to the hard work and organization of one man. The vision and investment of one man, and that man is Cano. The same man the original article is written about.

    He has made the garden a warm and welcoming place. He and his family insure that the garden is open regularly and is a beautiful and inviting place to visit.

    I ask you, AnnaLee and Board of Trusties of El Jardin de Pariaso where exactly has $75,000 worth of money gone?

    The pathways that were installed by Cano has made the garden accessible to all. The little house is a great place to sit and enjoy the day. The price tag of for all the time labor an materials could not be an "exaggeration" as the previous writer asserts.

    It is my observation, after living next to this garden for 14 years that this man has done more for that little garden paradise in a few years than I have seen in all the years I have lived next to it.

    I have never seen any other member, board member, or otherwise spend so much time and effort to make El Jardin a Paradise.

    I think the man deserves a big Thank You, not a reprand.

    And by the way. We are now all interested. Please publish how OUR public money, in the form "grants totaling $75,000.00. has been spent. We are all really curious!

    Thanks,
    Corinthians McAbe

    • Bonnie Stein says:

      Poor Cano thinks he is a master, but it is a shame that he is both a great helper and a poor communicator. Everyone on the committee knows what he is doing and what he has done, to build and destroy relationships and casitas.

      El Jardin del Paraiso existed for many years, perhaps before several active people were born, but it is there for many to enjoy. There is no reason to idolize one person, or give credit to anyone but the vast community, visible and behind the scenes, who have made the garden what it is today.

      Let us look to the future, to see how the garden grows.


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