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29-08 47th Avenue
Long Island City, Queens
Founded in 2000
LIC Roots began as a small community gardening effort in 2000 when interested neighbors sought to make a positive change in the very industrial and post-industrial landscape of 47th Avenue. Noah Kaufman, the garden founder, and Terry Born, then principal of Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Secondary School for Arts and Technology, coordinated efforts to commemorate late Firefighter Michael E. Brennan, a native of Sunnyside, and a member of Engine 54 who lost his life responding to a mayday call at WTC 7 on Sept. 11, 2001.
With the support of the elected representatives and the members of Community Board 2, Queens, LIC Roots was encouraged to incorporate, and subsequently received a license for community beautification from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. LIC Roots was created directly over the tracks of the unused Degnon Terminal Railroad at 47-08 30th Street, and in building the garden, 140 cubic yards of garbage was bulldozed out and replaced by 160 cubic yards of clean dirt.
The garden itself is divided into four zones: from the east, there is a lawn area surrounded by flower beds at grade, and a memorial Flag Pole; passing through an arbor, there is a hard-surface patio, surrounded on the south by a raised bed and plank seating. This area was constructed by students of Queens International High School and the middle school at Robert F. Wagner. The raised bed contains native species and higher plants as a hedge.
In the westerly half of the garden there is a rainwater harvesting shade structure, which was built with the assistance of GrowNYC in 2008. The shade structure is 10' x 20' and the roof collects rain water into a 250 gallon raised cistern. From these 'open' areas, there is a plank fence and gate that leads to 6 raised vegetable beds. Four of these beds are tended by individuals. The other two were built by GrowNYC as part of our work in the garden related to our 2011 Greening Western Queens awards; these two beds are used by Robert F. Wagner students. LIC Roots maintains a lengthy waiting list for the their raised beds.
This garden is under the jurisdiction of NYC Parks and supported by GreenThumb, the nation's largest urban gardening program. If you are interested in joining, starting, or supporting a community garden, contact NYC Parks GreenThumb.