Advocacy works. That is the message being championed by the group responsible for organizing the effort to transform the East 78th Street and First Avenue “rat park” into a community garden. And the group is asking for your help.
Upper East Side Green Space Now (UES Green Space) organized its first rally on December 4, bringing the attention of lawmakers and residents alike to the overgrown, rat-infested lot which has sat vacant since 2013. A second event was organized the following week.
Local lawmakers have also made some efforts to effectuate change. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney has reached out to both the Department of Sanitation and Mayor-Elect Eric Adams asking for an investigation into the “conditions at the site” and to “take appropriate action to address the rodent issue found at the coroner of East 78th Street and First Avenue.”
While there seem to be no definitive plans for the lot at the moment, those wishing to further the effort are urged by UES Green Space to sign its change.org petition. The neighborhood group is asking the city and state government to “(1) enforce already existing laws and regulations for safety and hygiene, and (2) allow for the lot – through eminent domain or any other necessary and legal procedures – to be utilized for the public good as a neighborhood greenspace.”
The petition does come with a caveat. UES Green Space qualifies that “any future use of the lot must not merely be a means to raise property values in the surrounding area but should genuinely be open to the public and exclude hostile architecture or discriminatory policing.”
The petition can be signed here. We have been in touch with UES Green Space and hope to have some more updates soon.