Ben Shepard called out to his friends on Facebook to gather in Washington Square Park to remember Pete Seeger and sing his songs in the cold, cold night.
“I Have Sung in Hobo Jungles, and I Have Sung for the Rockefellers”: Pete Seeger Refuses to “Sing” for HUAC
our signs are more fun: on the philosophy and activism of pete seeger
Radical history walking tour to celebrates the life of Neil Smith (1954-2012), renowned radical geographer, condemner of the capitalist city, powerful agitator for the small and large cause. In this first video Ben Shepard of Times-Up the bicycle activists group, talks about the history of community gardens in the East Village and Lower East Side. It was a rainy day but many people came out for the walk.
Ben Shepard in front of the Creative Little Garden on 6th Street between Avenues A and B.
Matt and Steve two of the organizers of the walk.
Waiting for the tour to start at the Astor Place cube,(The Alamo).
Walking past Tompkins Square Park on Avenue B.
The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space
Father Pat, Rev. Patrick Moloney, a Melkite Greek Catholic priest, who has been an advocate for the poor and displaced in the East Village and a political gadfly for many years, has many stories to tell. Here in part 1 of my interview he talks about Bonitas House, the differences between the Easter and Western Church and the pros and cons of for celibacy in the priesthood.
I met Father Pat while wandering around photographing my East Village neighborhood shortly before Christmas. He was out in front of Bonitas House on East 9th Street, near Tompkins Square Park, contemplating the Nativity scene he had placed there. I remarked to him how unusual it was to see a manger in this neighborhood. It didn’t take much to get him spinning amazing stories about the neighborhood. I told him that I had to come back and record his version of East Village history. Yesterday I spent 3 hours recording him non-stop. And I plan to go back for more some time soon. We didn’t even get into what I originally wanted: stories about the Christadora House, the Tompkins Square Park riot of 1988 and the gang warfare of the 1980’s. But we did cover his childhood in Limerick Ireland and his four-year imprisonment in the 90’s for involvement in a 7 million dollar Brinks robbery, supposedly in support of the IRA (which he totally denies).
Marga Snyder of the community garden La Plaza Cultural gives the history of the garden from way back when it was a stream-crossed salt-marsh. It’s a large community garden in the East Village of New York City. It remains an open space today because the streams running beneath the landfill, make for poor building foundations.
This Elm was cut down in 2003 and I shot these photos then. It may have been afflicted with Dutch Elm Disease. Some neighbor nailed wooden tags to the rings giving radical perspectives on local and national history starting in 1931. It looks like the tree was a few years older than that. The stump is no longer there, the tags lasted a few months. The tree was near the corner of 10th Street and Avenue B. No tree has grown there since.
I was inspired to dig these photos out of my archives by the initiation of the online interactive map for my Tompkins Square Park Tree Identification Project. This project is rolling out slowly, I have thousands of photos to edit and add.
I shot these photos in 2003 with my cheap first digital camera and have enhanced the tags for legibility. The 1981 tag refers to the discovery of AIDS. The 1988 tag has police riot scratched out and replaced with “dirty animal.” The 1989 tag mentions Dinkinsville though David Dinkins wasn’t Mayor until 1990.