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Community Gardens As Classrooms, Love on the Gowanus Canal, and Other News

Here’s everything that’s been happening around the city this week.

Kris Wong/Getty Images

Community Gardens As Classrooms

The de Blasio administration finally unveiled an “outdoor-learning plan” this week that would allow NYC schools to hold classes in parks and other public spaces. Clarisa James, who runs an education nonprofit, tells the Queens Daily Eagle that the city should consider using the hundreds of community gardens across the five boroughs (most located in communities of color) to host students as well.

The city’s more than 550 community gardens, which tend to be concentrated in low- and middle-income neighborhoods, can fill the need for outdoor-learning spaces where there’s a scarcity of traditional parks. But the Parks Department has so far declined to give gardens the green light to host classes; city rules prevent more than 25 people from congregating in those spaces at a time. The Department of Education has expressed a willingness to work with community-based gardens, but without buy-in from the Parks Department, garden classrooms, like so many things related to schools reopening, seem unlikely.


Tax-Lien Sales to Hit Coronavirus-Impacted Neighborhoods Hardest (and Other Happenings on NYC Streets)

In a letter to Mayor de Blasio this week, 50 city and state elected officials urged him to cancel this year’s tax-lien sales — an annual auction of debts owed to the city for unpaid taxes and water bills, which had already been pushed back four months to September 4 — or at least exempt homeowners and small residential buildings. The mayor said no.

This summer, Racey Gilbert brought an unusual sight to an empty tree bed on 101st Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive: a corn patch. After planting the bed, Gilbert installed a sign that reads “CORN, seed growing, please no walk,” and he told West Side Rag that five stalks out of the 14 he planted have now grown to their full height.

Following years of advocacy and a request from the Durst Organization developers, the city has added an Upper East Side stop to its NYC Ferry Astoria route. Starting Saturday, the new route will connect the Queens neighborhood to East 90th Street.

The oft-contested midtown skyscraper 3 Sutton Place has topped out at 847 feet tall. Developer Gamma Real Estate was dragged into a lengthy legal battle by the East River Fifties Alliance over the hight of the tower, but its legal bid was ultimately unsuccessful.

Other Stuff Going on Around Town

A Brooklyn couple got engaged while canoeing on the Gowanus Canal.

The lost glory of New York City’s transit system is on full display in this nifty virtual walk-through of the abandoned City Hall station, with its arches and stunning Guastavino tiles.

A 500,000-square-foot film and TV production studio is coming to Sunset Park’s Bush Terminal.

Central Park’s new bronze monument of suffragists Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony is the park’s first statue in its 167-year history to depict women who aren’t fictional characters.