Community Garden / Landscape Experience

by Maggie Clarke, Ph.D.


Design and Administration of Community Gardens

Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Gardens, Inc. (RING) first garden

With financial assistance from Councilmember Stanley Michels and Assemblyman Brian Murtaugh, the Green Guerrillas, and New York Horticultural Society, thousands of dollars in in-kind support was provided for initial garden (Riverside Drive and Payson Ave.) in a foot of soil on top of building rubble from 1984-1987.  This botanical community garden won two citywide Mollie Parnis Dress Up Your Neighborhood Contests in 1985 and 1987, awards from the New York Horticultural Society for its flowers, dozens of community volunteers and contributors, and started an educational program with Our Lady Queen of Martyrs middle school.  



Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Gardens, Inc.
(RING) Triangle garden

Councilmember Michels, Assemblyman Brian Murtaugh, State Senator Leichter, and Columbia Presbyterian hospital directly funded $6,000, Trust for Public Land provided a $10,000 endowment, and the NYC Parks Department provided thousands in in-kind support for the new garden at the Lt. William Tighe Triangle (bounded by Broadway, Dyckman, Riverside, and Seaman). 1989 – 1990.  This botanical community garden was built as raised beds in two feet of soil or less on top of asphalt, and has won several Dress Up Your Neighborhood Contests and many small grants from Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, Apple Bank, among others to assist the gardening, events, and public outreach programs.  Award Winner of Citywide "Dress Up Your Neighborhood Contests" in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998. 


Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Gardens, Inc. (RING) First MBP capital grant

In the mid-1990s the RING Garden was able to purchase a pond shell and a small solar collector with which to circulate water creating a small waterfall with a little over $1,000 grant from Manhattan Borough President, Ruth Messinger.  Subsequent investments allowed the garden to purchase an additional five solar collectors, 3 batteries, a biofilter and vortex to clean the pond as water circulates.



Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Gardens, Inc. (RING)  Reconstruction project

In 1996 and 1997 Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, provided $215,000 and supplemental $17,000 in capital grants for major renovation at RING Triangle garden 1999-2000 (concrete walls to replace rotting railroad ties, 2 new entrances, arbor, shed, wrought iron fence, ground hydrants, four foot deep pond).


Riverside-Inwood Neighborhood Gardens, Inc. (RING) Trees Inwood Project

In 2005 RING secured funding and in-kind in the Green Links program of the NYC Parks Dept. for a project to plant 25 street trees on Dyckman St. and Inwood’s nearby commercial streets.  RING volunteers secured signatures from store owners and shopkeepers, and has done preliminary work to have middle school students at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs trained in street tree care, in advance of a program where students will monitor the health and conditions of street trees and help businesses care for their trees.  The first installment of street trees were planted on Dyckman Street in Fall 2006, and ten cherry trees will bloom in spring 2007.

(photo is looking east from Broadway on Dyckman St.)



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