P. O. Box 20017
New York, NY 10014  USA

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    • Instigator of and planner for West Village Houses, low-rise affordable residences from Bank Street along Washington Street down to Morton Street, 1962, replacing expensive, destructive city plan while providing more units
       

    • Garden in 1970s on vacant lot within 7th Avenue, 12th Street, and Greenwich Avenue owned by St. Vincent’s Hospital; eventually taken over for the hospital’s garage and plant; in 2015, becoming a park open to the public
       

    • Joining in the fight, and suppport of the lawsuit, against Westway, a proposed two additional blocks of landfill and new construction in the Hudson River over a widened West Side Highway, from 1969 to 1985, when Judge Thomas Griesa deemed the project potentially harmful to the striped bass population, thus preventing this city- and state-sponsored real-estate boondoggle.
       

    • Jefferson Market parking area along 10th Street (now the library’s garden)
       

    • Administering and maintaining Jane Street Garden, from 1987; on May 1, 2012, it was transferred to the NYC Parks Department and is in the GreenThumb program.
       

    • Sponsoring one of the first NYC greenmarkets, Gansevoort Street
       

    • Instigating the creation of Bleecker playground and sitting area in 1966, paying for the plans by Bob Nichols, and, on later occasions up to 2002, fighting to keep the sitting area from being surrounded by chain-link fencing, physically blocking such work in 1991
       

    • In Abingdon Park, paying for tree trimming, bench-slat replacement, and fence repair (1984) and for years conducting cleanups and sponsoring a community planting area
       

    • 1993, helping to win court victory (with others) to preserve the Naumburg Bandshell in Central Park from destruction
       

    • Installation of iron or stone guards around numerous treepits, plus plantings, supplying materials, labor, and plaques 
       

    The West Village Committee has been proud to work with the following organizations:
     

    • Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

    • Greenwich Village Block Associations

    • New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City

    • Friends of the Earth

    • Clean Air Campaign

    • Historic Districts Council

    • Society for the Architecture of the City

    • Federation to Preserve the Greenwich Village Waterfront & Great Port, Inc.

    • Jane Street Block Association

    • Perry Street Block Association

    • Waverly-Bank Block Association

    • Neighborhood Open Space Coalition

    • Landmarks West

     

    History
         The garden at 40 Jane Street was begun in 1973 on a burned lot by members of the Jane Street Block Association, inspired in part by the big temporary garden created by the West Village Committee on what was then a vacant site owned by St. Vincent’s Hospital on 7th Avenue. The original design of the Jane Street Garden was contributed by landscape architect Dan Stewart. Phyllis Katz and Jean Verral provided much of the leadership, together with Gerard Mutsaers, who did most of the heavy work.

         By 1974, the garden had won a Mollie Parnis Dress Up Your Neighborhood award. In 1975, it was needlessly ransacked by a developer who bought the site. He was denied permission to build by the Landmarks Commission following organized objections from the community. 

         The New York City Division of Real Property took over the site, on which it charged a substantial rent to the Jane Street association. The block association asked the West Village Committee to take over the garden. WVC was able to negotiate a new lease. It has cultivated and cared for the garden through volunteer labor and contributions ever since. We use all natural or organic materials. We also pay for a twice-monthly contract with an exterminator who tends to the rodent stations.

         The garden is open on weekends and whenever a volunteer is available to keep it open. Keys to the gate are available to community members.

     

         The garden maintenance and administration and negotiations with the city were implemented by Bill Bowser as president of the WVC for many years, and taken over by later president Peter Falk in the 2000s. The plantings are currently selected and maintained by Susan Sipos, who has also played a crucial role in bringing the garden under the umbrella of the city’s GreenThumb program.

    Plantings
         Trees and shrubs: Crabapple, dogwood, firethorn, crape myrtle, yew, hydrangea, smokebush, rose of sharon, box, jasmne nudiflorum, redbud, Chinese and American holly, roses

    Flowers
          Violets, narcissus, tulip, bleeding heart, columbine, peony, alyssum, lily, foxglove, mint, astilbe, iris, hosta, dahlia, hollyhock, aster

    Birds
          A birdbath is kept filled. Birdseed is prohibited as attracting rodents and sprouting as weeds. All the natural food the birds need grows in the garden.

     

    Jane Street Garden Plans

    Fence
         The WVC has worked with the NYC Parks Department so that new steel picket fence can replace the chain link that has enclosed the space since its early days. The fence design is by NYC Parks Department Landscape Architect George Vellonakis. The gate will be moved to a more public-friendly location at the 8th Avenue corner, and both gate and fence will be in keeping with the historic ironwork railings found throughout the neighborhood.

    Paths
         With the relocation of the gate, new hardscaping will be laid on paths and seating areas, based on a plan by Barry Benepe. There will be no radical change, just refurbishing of a space the community has loved and valued for decades. The paths will be ADA-compliant.

    Funding
         The West Village Committee, and the whole neighborhood, is grateful to City Councilmember Corey Johnson for a generous allocation for the fence. 

         The West Village Committee is funding the new hardscaping, plantings, and irrigation system, designed by horticulturalist and landscape designer Susan Sipos, around new benches and enhanced seating areas.

    Improvements
         Susan Sipos will design plantings around the new benches and enhanced seating areas. There will be a system of irrigation. 

         Efforts are being made to address the uneven sidewalks surrounding the garden outside the fence.

     

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