A Garden Grows in Long Island City

Originally Written for BQE Media 

The ribbon was cut on the expansion of the Long Island City Roots community garden last week.In April 2002, the first tree in the garden was planted in memory of Firefighter Michael Brennan and others who lost their lives on 9/11.

The garden eventually lost that space, and in 2004 asked permission from the MTA to fill in a section of unused railroad track.The new expansion, located at 29-08 47th Ave., will open the doors to a whole new group of gardening enthusiasts.

The new features include a rainwater harvesting system and a bee farm helping with pollination and also to create honey.

“Bees don’t really care about you,” said GrowNYC member Lenny Librizi. “They really care about flowers.It’s safe as long as you don’t get in their way.”

GrowNYC manages and maintains the garden with help from students at Wagner High School International High School.

“When you bring these kids into the space, it’s as though they have never experienced life before,” said Terry Born, vice chair of GrowNYC. “They don’t understand the connection between taking your hand, putting a seed in the ground and then it pops up.”

Some of the planting beds at the garden are open to the public, and gardeners are allowed to keep their bed contingent on good gardening behavior. There is now a waiting list.

“Since I have moved into New York City this is actually the one glowing bright spot,” said Gerard, a gardener at LIC Roots.The garden is open everyday to non-gardeners from sunup to sundown, and is popular with area office workers and students from LaGuardia Community College.

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