Back to the Community Garden Idea

Future home of a community garden? | File photo by Brian Donovan

BY BRIAN DONOVAN | I have a relatively limited and particularized set of skills that include sniffing out like a dog you shouldn’t pet at the airport when somebody really is about that action. This block association (the High Line 28 Block Association) is, first and foremost, a social club, but second, it is a (growing) assortment of neighbors that occasionally does something productive. On that second part, my friends, if we’re really going to be about it, I’m going to have to find some drugs in people’s bags.

That brings me to two individuals who I talked to recently who I think may be carrying less than 3 ounces of cannabis for recreational use in their bags: Leslie Boghosian Murphy and Shanti Nagel (chill, neighborhood watch—it’s legal now and it’s a metaphor). Leslie is running for City Council in District 3, and Shanti is a horticulturist and landscape designer who founded an organization called Design Wild.

Leslie talked to me for a solid 40 minutes about our budding efforts to build a community garden at the lot on West 29th Street and 10th Avenue. She appears to be willing to help us get this off the ground and put me in touch with the right people, and her style of speaking—approachable, direct, concrete, probing in all the right ways—is the style of a person who gets things done.

Shanti gave me similar execution-oriented vibes, and she’s going to come by the lot on Wednesday to tell us how we can develop it into a garden.  “This is what we do,” Shanti tells me.

And so we are moving forward. I also remain in contact with the owner of the lot, who still likes the idea. Major hurdles I see for us in the future are: (i) fundraising, given that we’re going to need to pay a private organization like Design Wild to help develop the lot; and (ii) forming a nonprofit, which I think we may have to do for property tax purposes. So I may be asking a few of my new texting buddies in the next few weeks whether they can help me with either of these items.

On that note—I continue to believe that your life may be marginally improved for just a little bit of effort if you get in on the ground floor of this block association.

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NOTE: The above has been reprinted with permission from the author. It first appeared as an entry on, the website of the High Line 28 Block Association (“For humans residing on 28th & 29th Streets between 10th & 11th Avenues”). To visit the website and learn more about this new block association, click here.


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