Bette Midler Opens Brooklyn’s redesigned Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Garden To The Public

Bette Midler Opens Redesigned Community Garden in Bed-Stuy
by Brooklyn Eagle (, published online 09-17-2009
Has Long Been Used For Growing Vegetables

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT – Bette Midler’s New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing and revitalizing parks, community gardens and public spaces in New York City, opened Brooklyn’s redesigned Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Garden to the public Thursday.

Ms. Midler, in addition to her theatrical and musical activities, gained fame among environmentalists when, in the 1990s, her organization and the Trust for Public Land bought more than 100 community gardens that were due to be auctioned off by the Giuliani administration. Of these gardens, 55 went to the Restoration Project – the Bedford-Stuyvesant garden among them.

The Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Garden, open since 1981, has a long history of community involvement. It has long been used by its members for growing vegetables and providing a food source for the neighborhood.

With the generous support of Dr. Leslie Johnson, NYRP was able to engage architect Ken Smith to design the overall space with the primary focus of enhancing urban agriculture. The garden now features many raised planting beds and even a small tree orchard.

“Bringing beautiful green space and true design into community gardens throughout the five boroughs is a key part of NYRP’s mission,” said Midler. “Through Dr. Johnson’s generosity and Ken Smith’s vision for this space, we are confident that we have created something we know the community will embrace and enjoy.”

Smith is celebrated for a number of high-profile, public-space projects, including 7 World Trade Center, roof gardens at the Museum of Modern Art, Malcolm X Plaza, and contributions to the City of New York’s Lower Manhattan East River Master Plan. Also present was Borough President Marty Markowitz.

“Creating a community place where neighbors can grow food is one of the most fulfilling landscapes one can make. It’s both beautiful and contributes to the health of the city,” said Smith.

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