Elizabeth Street Garden Update: de Blasio Picks “Developer” to Destroy Garden

Elizabeth Street Garden Update: de Blasio Picks “Developer” to Destroy Garden; Community Hires Lawyer to Save It
Shake-up at Landmarks: Preservationists Demand Chair Resign; She Quits a Week Later
Infrastructure Projects This Week in SoHo
Elizabeth Street Garden Update
– de Blasio Picks “Developer” to Destroy Garden
The de Blasio administration is pushing forward with its plan to destroy our Elizabeth Street Garden.  
As soon as last year’s election was over, the city selected a development team to build a 7-story residential building where the Garden now stands – despite our community’s need for open space and despite widespread opposition from local residents and businesses, most elected officials, and numerous environmental groups.  
Community Board 2 is hosting a hearing with these developers on June 25.  We need to show them that our community has spoken and we want to save Elizabeth Street Garden as it is!  Be sure to attend.  Bring signs.  Wear Green.  Don’t be fooled by fancy names and pretty renderings. Once the bulldozers come, our green oasis will be another paltry concrete slab with benches.
When: Monday, June 25, 6:30 pm
Where: NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, Room 520
Community Retains Noted Attorney
After consultation with several lawyers, Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden the main group spearheading this struggle, decided there was sound legal basis for a challenge to the city’s decision to develop the Garden into residences.   
The space had originally accommodated a school that was demolished in the 1970s.  The land where the Garden now stands was promised as community recreational space when the adjacent Section 8 housing on Spring Street was built in 1981.  Housing on the green space was never intended to be in the picture.
After interviewing several attorneys, Friends has retained Michael Gruen, an experienced land-use lawyer with a proven track record litigating against New York City and State governmental entities. Gruen is president of the City Club, a good governance organization that recently won two important land-use cases — Pier 55 and Flushing Meadows.
In the Pier 55 litigation, after the City Club’s major victory in federal court, NYC Parks management agreed to protect the Hudson River from environmental damage and Governor Cuomo committed to “work cooperatively to complete the full vision” for Hudson River Park.  For Flushing Meadows, the City Club’s litigation successfully blocked the development of a proposed shopping mall near Citi Field. 
Friends’ legal team has developed strong legal strategies based on compliance with the history of the Garden site and environmental law.  
Help save our garden.  Please donate to the Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden Legal Defense Fund here
– Shake-up at Landmarks: Preservationists Demand Chair Resign; She Quits a Week Later
You may recall that in March we asked you to attend a public hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission to oppose the agency’s proposal to remove many applications for changes to buildings in historic districts from public review and instead have commission staffers decide the merits – without any public hearing. This was contrary to over fifty years of commission policy.
The proposal was the brainchild of the commission’s chair, Meenakshi Srinivasan, whose policies and decisions were viewed by many as being extraordinarily accommodating to developers’ requests.
The public hearing was packed with preservationists who roundly spoke out against Srinavasan’s latest proposal.  When one activist demanded that Srinavasan resign, the audience erupted in loud applause.  A week later she unexpectedly resigned, with no explanation given. 
Needless to say, the commission announced that it is withdrawing its proposal, meaning we shall again be able to express our opinion to the city on important preservation issues instead of having them decided for us behind closed doors. 
– Infrastructure Projects This Week
The NYC Office of Design and Construction has announced plans for several projects in SoHo this coming week that may cause some inconvenience and parking problems.
Starting Monday, June 3 through Friday June 8, from 7am to 6pm, utility relocation work, specifically electric layout work, will be going on at West Broadway between Canal and Grand Streets.   There will also be catch basin Installation and utility work being performed during the same time at Howard and Crosby Streets.  Expect parking to be restricted.
Also be advised that Greene Street between Spring Street and Prince Street will be closed to vehicular traffic due to a crane operation at 103 Greene Street on June 9 & 10 and 16 & 17, from 8am to 6pm Saturday and 9am to 6pm Sunday,
Sean Sweeney
SoHo Alliance
PO Box 429
New York, NY 10012