A “City” of Weavers

Dear David Brooks,

We read your recent op-ed “A Nation of Weavers” with great excitement. In your vision of Americans creating hubs where people can come together, we saw ourselves. For more than 20 years, NYRP has been committed to providing safe, healthy, green open space as a right – not a privilege – for every New Yorker.

We invite you to come visit some of our gardens this spring during your book tour to see how communities we partner with throughout the five boroughs have created a city of weavers right in your own backyard. NYRP’s gardens, parks, and open spaces are the “hubs” of social infrastructure you describe. Our garden members and coordinators meet monthly, planning and coordinating how to best serve community. They are weavers.

The East New York chef who holds monthly workshops at McLeod’s Community Garden with her neighbors to make cooking and eating vegetables and fruits more flavorful and exciting – she’s a weaver. The retired building porter in East Harlem that organizes birthdays and holds an annual domino tournament in El Cataño Community Garden – he’s a weaver. The father at Glover Street Community Garden in the Bronx who organizes activities for students from the elementary and middle schools across the street to share his heritage with the kids and celebrate theirs – he’s a weaver. The elderly women who teach a teenage boy how to tend the soil for squash, peppers, and potatoes at Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden in Queens are weavers.

This is what we hear from our growing community of gardeners – weavers from our network:

This garden is everyone’s second home. People play dominos, kids have birthday parties, and the whole community enjoys having coffee and spending afternoons here.

– Jose Reyes, El Cataño Community Garden, East Harlem

Most of our students have been traumatized physically and mentally. They’ve been in the foster care system. Some of them are homeless, or have been homeless. For a lot of my young people there are very few places they have to physically go. NYRP gardens are a refuge from the turmoil in their lives.

– Heather Butts, Co-Founder/Executive Director, H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths

This past season we grew, harvested, and donated over 1,000 pounds of organic and nutritionally dense veggies and herbs to our local community of West Brighton. We established a relationship with a Senior Center where our produce was cooked and served to the seniors in a day program.

– Kim Cohen, Gardens for the City Grant Recipient, Staten Island

What we grow here is always better because it’s fresh and free of chemicals and can be shared with everyone. It’s also organic, so it is 100% better than in the grocery store.

– Elvia Campos, Clinton Avenue Garden, East Tremont, Bronx


Thanks for your wonderful piece, we hope to see you this spring!

Deborah Marton, Executive Director