Friends Announces Lawsuit Against New York City
Joined by Assembs. Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou

Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden announced on March 7 a lawsuit against New York City to stop the destruction of Elizabeth Street Garden, a treasured green space located between Prince and Spring streets in Little Italy. (Read coverage in The New York Times.)

To fund this legal work, Friends has raised nearly $80,000 toward our $100,000 legal defense fund goal. Your contribution will directly fund legal fees to save our beloved Elizabeth Street Garden from permanent destruction.

Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou, who represent the constituents where the Garden is located as well as the adjoining district, along with Little Italy and SoHo residents, will serve as co-plaintiffs. The suit claims the city’s effort to develop Elizabeth Street Garden into a seven-story mixed-use building is unlawful:

  • The suit seeks to stop the Ulurp proceedings because the city acted illegally, issuing a “negative declaration” claiming that there are no significant environmental impacts, brushing aside possible ground contamination from hazardous materials.
  • The suit asserts that the finding by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development that the beautiful Garden is “blighted” (in order to exempt the project from real property taxes and provide other owner benefits) is invalid.
  • The suit notes that the property is subject to a declaration that it may be used solely for educational purposes and is subject to obligations of city personnel to hold the property in trust for the Board of Education.
  • Additionally, the development also violates New York State Constitution’s prohibitions against municipalities making gift and loans.

The de Blasio administration and Council Member Chin have repeatedly ignored constituents and local community groups, who overwhelmingly support saving Elizabeth Street Garden.

Our community is starved for open space, and the 20,000-square-foot park is open to the public year-round, offering more than 200 free public events annually and attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year. (Read more….)

Friends’ Legal Defense

Friends has retained Michael Gruen, an experienced land use attorney with a proven track record litigating against New York City and state governmental entities. Gruen has prepared a strong legal case based on the Garden’s history and environment law. (Read more….)

*Please note that our organization is Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden

Contribute online or send a check to Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden Inc., 235 Elizabeth Street, Ste. 23, New York, NY 10012.

If you have questions, want to help further or would like to introduce Friends to potential donors, please contact Emily Hellstrom at [email protected].

Please spread the word to your friends and neighbors.

How the City’s Plan Will Destroy the Garden

Don’t be fooled by pretty renderings…. Once the bulldozers come, the developers will replace our green oasis with a tiny, shadow-filled, privately-owned opened space.

The Development Will Destroy the Garden (presentation link)

Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden remains independent and fully committed to our mission to preserve Elizabeth Street Garden as a unique public green, open space and New York City Park.