NYC Guerrilla Gardening

As part of New York’s May Day activities, NY Reclaim the Streets planned a guerrilla gardening [a] action at the heart of the city, in Wall Street. Unfortunately massive police presence and many ridiculous arrests, (for cycling or wearing masks,) made this impossible. The black bloc, (similarly dressed anarchists in black), were especially singled out.[b]

So, escorted by hundreds of police, the crowd of gardeners, carying beautiful puppets, drums and plants crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to a derilict site on the East side of the river. Bin bags were handed out and police looked on, ridiculous in riot gear, as it was cleaned up.

Digging and planting soon began. Beds were created with existing soil and imported compost. Perennials such as comfrey and jeruselem artichokes were freely planted around the site.

La pinata, a mexican tradition of celebration where a papermache model is broken to reveal gifts, was used to open the garden. A pole was erected over one of the beds and a cardboard bulldozer dangled on a rope from the top. Blind folded participants, took turns to smash the model with a shovel, scattering seeds hidden inside on to the bed. A Maypole was also errected and much dancing took place.

Meanwhile a beautiful ‘FREE THE LAND’ banner was hung on the Manhattan Bridge. Using a dingy, activists dressed as pirates rowed to the bridge and climbed scaffolding to hang the banner. Baffled police took ages wondering how to get it down

It was a gentle action, involving a few hundred people and unfortunately, thousands of police. To see guerrilla gardening footage come to a Primal Seeds slide show event on Friday 12th May, 7pm, at Charas community centre, 506 E. 9th St, between B and C, lower East side, Manhattan, New York City. The themes are, ‘Who controls biodiversity?’, ‘How did agriculture become corporate business?’, ‘What’s wrong with genetic engineering?’, ‘UK grassroots resistance’, ‘Pulling up transgenic crops’, ‘The power of autonomous zones’ and ‘Community seed-saving libraries.’


[a] See the guerilla gardening pages for more information on what it is and how to do it.

[b] This should prove interesting in the courts, as the anarchist black bloc and extreme right klu klux klan are both defending their right to free speech and anonimity under US bill of rights.