Liz Christy, community garden builder

Liz Christy was a founder of the urban community garden group, Green Guerillas. She was the first Director of the Council on the Environment, in New York City’s Open Space Greening Program and LCBH garden was the first winner of the American Forestry Association’s ‘Urban Forestry Award.’ In 1973, Liz Christy and a group of gardening activists were planting window boxes, vacant lots with ‘seed bombs’ and tree pits in the area. They saw the large rubble-strewn lot as a potential garden and in December went to the City to find a way to gain official use of the land. Volunteers… Read More

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Howard Otway, revival movie theater

Howard Otway (1922 – 1994, an actor, author and singer owned and directed Theater 80 St. Marks, the longest continuously running movie house devoted exclusively to revival films and plays in New York City. His theater, at 80 St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, began its film revival program in 1971 with an opening-night celebration at which Gloria Swanson was the host. Designed and built by Mr. Otway in 1966, the theater was previously the home of the Manhattan Festival Ballet and of theatrical productions that included the 1967 musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Mr. Otway began his… Read More

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Jim Power, mosaic artist in East Village

Jim Power is a Vietnam Veteran decorating the East Village with mosaics. In the 1980s, Mr. Powers set out to make East Village a known arts destination by creating a trail of 80 mosaic-decorated light posts, each with its own theme and design inspired by local history and culture. At the height of his career as a street artist, The Mosaic Man was up to 70 light posts, but in the later part of the 80s and into the 90s, mayor Rudy Giulianni started a clean-up-the-city anti-graffiti campaign and took down 50 of his beautifully-adorned artworks. It was pretty hard to bear,… Read More

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Alphabet City Walking Tour

Years ago Alphabet City was considered dangerous but today it is a mix of affluent New Yorkers, NYU students, artists, musicians and free spirits. Alphabet City is the area from 14th Street to Houston Street, and from Avenue A to Avenue D in New York’s East Village. Before it was bustling with buildings, this area was marsh. In the 1800’s developers began building apartments and a large German community sprang up. By the early 20th century the area became more diverse with Jewish, Irish and Italian immigrants making this area their home. During the 1980s, Alphabet City was home to a mix of Puerto Rican and African… Read More

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