Adam Purple Created Magnificent Garden in the Rubble of a Decayed City. Despite a Court Order, NY Tore it Up for Greedy Developers. It was Providing Free Food for Thousands
In the crazy history of New York City, this story is one that stands out: it proves that politicians have no class and are only interested in their own greed. It started in 1975, with Adam and his wife Eve were living in a run down Lower East Side apartment. Purple was the Superintendent of the old buildinng he was in, and the owner soon disappeared, leaving Adam and others as “squatters”. Purple saw that a space had been created behind his building when another building was demolished, and he decided to create a garden to grow food for the neighborhood.
Purple planted the garden as concentric circles, with a yin/yang in the center. This configuration allowed the garden to grow as more buildings were razed in a frenzy of so-called Urban Renewal. The garden grew and grew, with over 40 trees and many kinds of vegatables. It soon became famous as thousands of folks visited the garden, many getting much needed food.
From Wikipedia: The process of clearing the lot took some time since the couple would only use hand tools. Modern machinery was considered “counter-revolutionary.” He would haul manure from the horse-drawn carriages around Central Park and created a highly fertile topsoil. The garden was ready to be planted in the spring of 1975. The garden was designed around concentric circles with a yin-yang symbol in the center. As buildings were torn down on either side, Purple would add new rings to the garden, allowing it to grow. By the end, it was 15,000 square feet featuring a wide range of produce, including corn, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, black raspberries, strawberries, and 45 trees including eight black walnuts. He regularly bicycled to Central Park to collect horse manure to use as fertilizer.
For about 10 years the garden was a tourist spot and also attracted volunteers to help grow food for poor folks, The City had other ideas, however, and wanted the land for development. They refused to include the garden in their plans, and on January 6, 1985 tore it down.
Things have actually gotten worse since then. Although there has been a huge increase in the homeless population, the various States, Counties, and Cities across the land have tried to criminalize folks for being homeless. We have seen the brutality of this all around us. A barber in Ohio arrested for giving haircuts to homeless folks for free in a park, Food Banks and church groups being threatened with arrest for feeding the poor, the gestapo-like raids in San Diego recently, called “Encampment Sweeps”, where police seal off the streets where homeless folks are sleeping and then bring in garbage trucks and take all the belongings, tents, food and bicycles from the poor souls and throw them into the waiting refuse trucks to be hauled to the dump. They take the backpacks and personal items containing ID and medications, anything they can get their hands on, to throw away. We’ve seen this before in old film footage from the 1930s and 1940s of the Nazi Stormtroopers descending on Jewish areas in Germany. I guess San Diego is a time-traveled sister city to the Berlin, or Warsaw of the last century. Maybe the final solution will be coming for the homeless, just like the Jews, forced Labor Camps and then extermination. Don’t think it can’t happen. In Columbia, as reported here earlier, homeless were rounded up and sent out of town into a concentration camp to live, with police guarding the road so they couldn’t sneak back into town. We are only a few steps away from the activities in the Third Reich.
Purple died on September 14, 2015, from a heart attack, aged 84, while bicycling across the Williamsburg Bridge. His Garden of Eden had died some thirty years before. But he showed us that big things can be accomplished, a little at time. Getting land in or near big cities is not easy these days, so we have to look for alternative situations.
There’s a lot of really great stuff about Adam Purple, a world-travelling philosopher, trying to stop nuclear war, seeking truth, trying to get his book published, and starting the Garden of Eden in New York. Check out the links and video about him:
Check out this wonderful story, Adam Purple and his Guerilla Garden of Eden by Derick Dirmaier at the website Narritive.ly
Wonderful illustration of Adam Purple by artist Sam von Mayrhauser on the same website.