Some thoughts from Dave Hurtle, the gardens' veteran Member ...
"I got there the year after the lease was terminated because one of the directors wanted out and decided to be petty and ruin it for everyone.
The City padlocked the gate right away and had a buyer in the works within the week or two it took to straighten out the mess. The other members fought City Hall and were able to retain the lease.
Zach Feris was the director when I started and I think he was one of the original directors. Zach's wife got a job in DC so they had to move. Melissa O'Brian and Laura Gosa took over after that.
I'm not sure what was there right before the garden but I've heard the land was a stable and a coal storage lot in the distant past.
When I got there, the only plots were in the middle and they weren't all being used. No waiting list at all. My plot and the other two by the clear shed were the first expansion plots. The dramatic increase in interest didn't start until around 2008. Since those first 3, all the plots on both sides and the ones in the back have been added.
As you know the original soil was contaminated with lead (from the turnpike not the railroad) so all of it has been replaced. There was an attempt at lead remediation with sunflowers a few years back. It's a designated wildlife habitat, presumably because of the butterfly garden. There are the cats and the bees and the compost. There are peaches and figs too.
They dredged the Hudson to get the fill to lay the embankment.
The oyster shells found all over the garden are from that.
Every park and community garden has dedicated volunteers that put alot of time into the community. I'm just one of them."