So it has been decided that we need to post our plan for little Lentol Garden, or maybe it's better to say our "vision."
First, a brief historical profile. As you might have read in the profile section, Lentol Garden is a memorial to Greenpoint resident Edward S. Lentol (1909-1981): New York State Assemblyman, Democratic senator and State Supreme Court judge. In 1992, Lentol Garden was named into law with the NYC Parks and Recreation and the Bayard Block Association joining forces to transform the site from a "public eyesore" to a beautiful ornamental garden and habitat.
Lentol Garden in it's current state would not exist without community and neighborhood support, and volunteer efforts. In fact, volunteers are Lentol's greatest resource. Since 1992, Lentol has seen various amounts of volunteer support and leadership, that's why the garden can look overgrown and unmaintained one year, then look beautiful and thriving the next.
People often wonder why Lentol's gates are perpetually closed and the answer is simple: According New York City law, a garden volunteer must be present for the gates to be open. And at present, we simply don't have enough volunteers to make that happen most of the time. The nature of volunteer support can be ephemeral without long-term organization and vision. That's something we aim to improve.
Hard-working folks have to sacrifice their time and effort to make anything happen in the garden. To provide incentive, we feel that volunteers need to form a meaningful bond with the space. Whether through digging in the soil, pulling weeds or simply relaxing in the grass, we want to provide our volunteers with a sense of pride, community, and dare we say, ownership. We want people to feel as enthusiastic about the space as we do, and for that to happen, people need to make it their own in their hearts.
Lentol Garden can fulfill our natural urge to form community bonds, while beautifying our streets and educating the public about urban gardening and the importance of sustainability. To make this happen, we must increase our volunteer ranks. As the autumn approaches and the days get shorter, we plan on having standing volunteer hours every Saturday from 1pm to 3pm.
The internet plays a large role in this plan. Sites like this one can provide a rallying point and bulletin board for interested parties, email will connect prospective volunteers with the folks who can get them started. Like a little seedling breaking through the soil, this blog and a new crop of volunteers are trying once again to breath life into this overlooked neighborhood treasure.