Harmony: Harlem’s Celebration of Life Earth Day Concert

Monday, March 27, 2006

Jam in the Garden

Two Sunday's ago around 10am I got a phone call from Professor Detrrick. She wanted me to call Ms. Goldson who she'd met at a meeting on Columbia's expansion in Harlem. Mrs. Goldson runs the seniors garden on 153rd street between Columbus and St. Nicholas. Later that Sunday I contacted Ms. Goldson (aka Dr. G) to set up a day and time meet and discuss the posibility of using her garden for our concert/festival. She said "What better day then today. Two hours later Megan and I were standing in one of the most beautiful gardens in the city. "What better place to have a party, than in a garden," Dr. G said.

Dr. G wanted our celebration in her garden just as much as we did. The garden big enough to hold 300 people, is tended daily by the neighborhood youth that helped Dr. G revive it from beneath four feet of garbage years ago.

The garden serves as the back yard for the brownstones faces north on 153rd (where Dr. G lives) and a senior center on 154th street. After getting a tour of the grounds and good conversation with Dr. G, we went in the center, told elders about our event;we asked for their permission in part, but more so their participation in our celebration.

The seniors garden is privately owned grounds and rest atop an auqifer. Collards, tomatoes and other edibles are grown there. We saw an assortment of colorful flowers preparing fully show out. There there are childerens sculpters and beautiful mosaics that boarder the garden. That was last Sunday.

In the mid-to late 1980's the area surrounding the seniors garden was on the cusp of drug war territory in upper Manhattan. This activity kept the elders inside the center as they were in fear of being robbed and/or harassed by wandering drug feinds.

According do Dr. G the garden has served as rehabilitator of the elders veiw of young people and the outdoors. The elders work in the garden and rest there. "It gives them the opportunity to engage with young people in a positive way" she said.

Obtaining this particular space has added a new and very important demension to the project. These are historical grounds in which its creators and ancestors still reside. This garden space is also unlike the city owned park or Barnard's campus is maintained by the members of its commuity. This space is truely a community space and lends itself to a stronger community feel.

Dr. G's enthusiasm for toward our event and her desire to use Harmony as a tool to promote the maintanense of green spaces, elevates our project from one of inovation to activism.

Harmony, is once again and finally, a celebration of life and the enviornment in Harlem. The event will take place on Earth Day (April 22nd,2006) from 11a-5p.

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