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MANHATTAN

El Cataño
Community Garden

171 East 110th Street
(between Lexington and Third Avenues)

Manhattan, New York

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HOURS

All NYRP community gardens must hold a minimum of 20 open hours per week. Please check the bulletin board at the garden for times and details. 

 

Garden Coordinator

José Reyes

 


Named after a city on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, this beloved garden is enthusiastically supported by local residents and is used by community members, their friends and families visiting from Cataño, Puerto Rico, as a gathering place during New York City’s annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in June – which begins on 44th Street and marches to 125th Street.

Traditionally, there is a Puerto Rican Day Festival held each Saturday before the parade – New York City’s third largest – along Third Avenue in East Harlem, with community members transforming the El Cataño Community Garden into a celebration of Puerto Rican food and music.  The presiding Mayor of Cataño often joins local residents in the festivities at the garden, where a past mayoral plaque commends the successful work of its founder Jose Reyes – who established the garden 20 years ago – in organizing tournaments between the El Cataño Community Garden’s own baseball team and teams in Puerto Rico.

In 2008, New York Restoration Project (NYRP) restored this 2,500-square-foot site in partnership with Denali Construction.  Re-envisioned by acclaimed landscape designer Billie Cohen, the space – Cohen’s Xth garden design for NYRP – features an intricate pattern of bluestone tiles in front and pavers arranged in concentric circles in the back of the garden.  Additional highlights include planting beds for perennials such as roses and rhododendron.

El Cataño’s new design is well-suited to the garden’s primary use as a community gathering space and frequent site of birthday parties, christenings and baby showers, as well as children’s activities and educational workshops.  In addition, local senior citizens use the garden to play cards and dominoes and, each year, NYRP partners with garden members to host a family-friendly domino tournament.

This garden is situated in an area starved for open green space within blocks of 10 schools and in close proximity to five New York City Housing Authority properties.  The densely populated neighborhood’s residents are primarily of Hispanic and African-American descent.