Back in May, Kate Temple-West, director of the Children’s Magical Garden, at right, watched in dismay as workers fenced off the land owned by Hoyda. Photo by Sam Spokony
BY SAM SPOKONY | ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED NOV. 27, 2013 | A developer has filed plans for a six-story, 70-foot-tall residential building on a contested lot that was part of a Lower East Side community garden for more than 30 years.
Supporters of the Children’s Magical Garden, at the corner of Stanton and Norfolk Sts., were dismayed this spring when Serge Hoyda fenced off part of the garden’s land that he purchased in 2003. The sliver has been privately owned for decades, according to city records, but it was used continuously by the garden.
Both before and after Hoyda fenced off the lot, supporters of the garden tried to convince him to agree to a “land swap” to keep C.M.G. fully intact.
But on Nov. 22, Hoyda’s representatives filed an application with the Department of Buildings, seeking approval to start construction. On Nov. 26, D.O.B. assigned a plan examiner to evaluate the application. A decision is pending, according to city records.
The address of the new building — with six full-floor apartments — would be 157 Norfolk St.
“The community gardeners are meeting after the Thanksgiving holiday to vote on the best solutions for the community garden, and for the many children who consider our garden to be their second home,” C.M.G. Director Kate Temple-West said in a Nov. 26 statement. “Soon we’ll be convening a town hall meeting to share our ideas with the wider community. We welcome and will hold a place at the meeting table for the developer.”
This summer, C.M.G.’s city-owned portion was included in the city’s GreenThumb program, giving it permanent community garden status.