A 36-Year-Old Bushwick Community Garden Was Razed for Condos

Magdalena Waz


The garden on the corner of Linden Street and Broadway used to be called The Secret Garden. Now, it’s an empty lot recently sold to developers for $8.75 million.

DNAinfo reports that the garden was first started in 1981 by Avellar Hansley and her daughter Martha Coxson. But for the past five years, Hansley, who was also the head of the Linden Street Block Association, had not been able to care for it as her health declined. 

With no one to keep up with the gardening, the lot became more and more overgrown, and the city started to hit it with violations for trash and rodents. Volunteers to clean the space up were hard to find given the fact that many families who had first been involved with the garden had moved out, and the transient residents replacing them did not take up the mantle, leaving the corner lot in a state of disarray.

Oddly enough, there is a silver lining. Through the sale of the lot, the hardware store next door will be able to stay in operation. Owner Anthony Adipietro of Krown True Value Hardware Store told DNAinfo that when he passes the store down to his son, it will have been in the family for three generations.

Still, the loss of valuable green space to more development is a shame, especially green space championed by a woman who had lived in Bushwick since the 60s. In 2014, the garden space was rededicated and named the “Avellar G. Hansley Secret Garden” when Hansley was 88 years old. 

Photo courtesy of Daryl-Ann Saunders.

Hansley passed away in May of this year, mere months before the tangible fruit of her labor was destroyed. Add the loss of this garden to the list of many things we didn’t know we needed until they were gone.

Featured image courtesy of Google Maps.

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