La Plaza Cultural Solar Pavilion Solstice Fundraiser


Claudi from Pinc Louds

Drag Performances, Tarot Reading, Acupressure, Shirts, Wellness, Raffle, Food, and Drinks!
3-9 pm
$10 donation at the gate
Sat. 6/19, 3-9pm, s/w corner 9th & C

photos by Marie-Helen

La Plaza Sandbox project

La Plaza Sandbox project

come and have breakfast Saturday 6/4 at 9 am with us to find out more

La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Community Garden offers a unique learning opportunity for the youngest New Yorkers.

Here our children play and have fun while learning how to take care of plants, how to compost, and where our food comes from. Most importantly they learn how to be part of a community. Playing in a garden where all ages, ethnicities, religions, and races meet and where many different activities take place at the same time is the best way for them to learn and grow.

photogallery from Olympia:

and this is what is was before the gorgeous re-build:

Our garden has a big community of families with children and the sandbox is literally where many long-lasting friendships start. The La Plaza Sandbox is heavily used daily during the warmer months but also on the weekends during the colder season by many local families. For more than six months of the year, this part of the garden literally functions as an oasis for toddlers and under-slept parents. We’re now designing and building a new sandbox that:

Will restore the structure; replenish the sand and add a protective mesh tarp for rain, trash, and rodents
The new design will offer smart sitting for guardians that function also as storage for toys and children-friendly tools.


PDF of plans

La Plaza’s Apres Ski

The Eventbrite link for tickets is here

Help Make La Plaza Shine! Save the date for our après ski winter fundraiser in the garden on December 9th from 7pm to 9pm.

About this event:

Join us for our winter fundraiser, featuring Neapolitan pizza made on the spot with the freshest ingredients by the folks from In Crust We Trust, seasonal drink offerings and s’mores from the Wayland, hot chocolate, tarot card readings, a live performance MC’d by Robert Galinsky, live music by Eric Hoffman+Ken Hatfield, and a chance to win amazing prizes in our raffle, including dinners from many local restaurants.

You will be kept warm, fed and entertained in our lovely garden under the stars in NYC’s East Village.

We are a group of volunteer community gardeners at La Plaza Cultural Community Garden along with some friends, raising money to install solar panels to power the garden so we can get off-grid. The pavilion will also serve as a four-season classroom offering workshops to the community.

The La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez community garden will be constructing an outdoor solar pavilion that would serve as a teaching and function space as well as an example and experiment in urban sustainability and permaculture. We intend to hold meetings and teach workshops within the space as well as have it open to anyone who is visiting the garden. The structure itself will be critical in permaculture instruction since it will serve as a working example.

Our organization is a volunteer-run non-profit registered under ‘New 600 BC East 9th Street Block and Neighborhood Association’ but doing business as La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez. As a licensed GreenThumb community garden we are concerned with the stewardship and management of the garden space as well engagement with our local community. We rely on our members to do all of our own fundraising, organizing, and administration in addition to the labor that goes into maintaining the garden space. We provide plot space to allow members to grow their own vegetables and flowers while we also function as a local outdoor space that is open to all members of the public.

We have worked with timber frame specialist Greg Katz and architect Andrea Warchaizer to design the structure. We have also partnered with local architect Paul Castrucci who has helped us prepare for the DoB filing and will be the architect listed on the submission. We selected the site of the project in order to maximize sun exposure to the panels while also limiting the impact of the structure on the existing functional space of the Garden. After doing some shade studies and consulting with the membership we selected the current location.

The structure will have a clerestory roof, with the upper plane holding a solar panel and the lower a green roof. The solar panels will furnish the power needs of the garden while being grid-independent. In addition to running the tools and water pumps of the garden we also need electricity for the various events, we host throughout the year. We provide the neighborhood with a venue for small local gatherings as well as hosting free public theater and music. This serves the community directly and helps to raise money for the garden.

We are acutely aware that in many ways our neighborhood sits directly on the front lines of climate change. During Sandy, reliable access to power was far from guaranteed in the neighborhood. This solar infrastructure will help to increase local resilience by providing a sustainably grid-independent power source in a public place. This goes hand-in-hand with objects of the Gardens Rising project and those of OneNYC.

The project is funded through a $30,000 grant provided by Tripadvisor.

a PDF of the Presentation

The Eventbrite link for tickets is here

Board meeting notes 3/31/19

La Plaza Cultural board meeting 3-31-19

Garden schedule:

  • Fence construction starts April 2ndwith the removal of our remaining mature willow, Krusty, which is hopelessly rotten. RIP. 
  • Official word is work will go on through June. Green Thumb has promised to speed things up where possible. There are a number of major events contingent on this happening (Great Small Works’ end of Ramadan spaghetti dinner, Loisaida Fest, etc.). 
  • Meanwhile, DoT will be installing a new sidewalk. It’s unclear how this will impact the permeable sidewalk we were maybe getting through Gardens Rising. The timeline also TBD. 
  • We will hold an official season opening party to coincide with the summer solstice (June 21), though the garden may be open before then (we hope!). The collection of membership dues will be postponed until we can open the garden. 
  • We need to coordinate garden access with the contractor. We’re compiling a list of reasons we need access, including watering trees (the trees that were dislocated from the fenceline are dying and need to be watered three times a week), caring for the new batch of bees when they come, watering Prima, making sure the pond pump is running, feeding the turtles, checking the rat boxes (we have at least 20 surrounding the perimeter). 


  • Our 10thAnnual fire jumping festival was a huge success. We got permission to hold it at La Plaza at the last minute (that day) following confusion over the permitting process (we heard different things from different officials, and it turned out there had been a revision of the rules, but Green Thumb helped expedite the process). For next year, we’ll work on improving the flow of people through the garden (people Instagramming made it less fluid) and getting the permit situation ironed out earlier.
  • Gratitude to Fireman’s Garden, which graciously and generously offered to host the event.
  • This year, we’ll Matt and Simin are joining Bill and Katie on the Events Committee. They’ll work on smoothing our process for community event requests (Katie triages most personal event requests, like kid birthday parties). 
  • Marga wants us to have more “curated” community days with all hands on deck and a more structured agenda. Even little things like making tea from the herb garden. 
  • For the events waitlist:
    • The LUNGS Spring Awakening event is April 14. They’re holding a costume workshop to prep for it on April 6. 
    • Felicia Young is coordinating a kids’ procession for fighting climate change on May 11 and may stage outside the garden. 
    • Loisaida Fest is May 26.
    • Bill’s bike workshop goes all spring/summer/fall. 
    • Barrier Walls event in July. 
    • Film festival in summer. 
  • Marga proposes that we have a poster with upcoming events outside the gate. Maybe we could build a template for easy input. 
  •   There was concern expressed about the new event’s guidelines from Green Thumb and how they could impact us as an events-based garden should we need to get sign-off for every event. Marga says this is a new project from Mara Gittleman, who put together how-tos. There’s a booklet online but they haven’t released official final rules. We need to see some outreach/dialogue with Green Thumb on this. 
  • We have two signature events per year – Halloween and Chaharshanbe Soori. We need more hands for both. Should we consider hiring people to work the event? We’ve paid stewards in the past but discontinued that. We can also be more organized about directing/training volunteers. 


  • There are approximately 30 plots. The plot letter will go out before the garden open. 


  • We technically have no members right now and we’ll have a shorter season. Simin will send an email to last year’s members updating them on the shortened season and how membership will work this year. 


  • The solar pavilion is moving forward through the confusing process slowly but steadily thanks to Jackson’s patient efforts. 
  • Unclear what’s happening with soil delivery this year, given the construction.
  • We’ll need to buy sod for the lawn if we don’t seed. We could try seeding since theoretically the garden will be closed and there won’t be anybody stomping around on there. 
  • Compost cans need to be changed. It’ll be around $200.


  • We really need a kitchen committee. There are issues around the grill, cleaning it up after use and ordering propane for it, getting sign-ups for use. Maybe one option could be to have it serviced weekly in season?

Open policy and etc.

  • The rule is that the garden can only be open if there are members present and needs to be closed at sunset except when there are events happening. Do we need to establish a rotation? We’re hopeful that new locks/keys/fences will solve the problem of unauthorized openings. 
  • A couple of weeks back some middle schoolers were throwing bricks and a planter and stuff in the pond and killed one of the young turtles. Diana chased them off and got pictures of a couple of them. 

Member meeting notes for 4-14-18

Member meeting notes for 4-14-18

This was our first general workday and member meeting of the season. The meeting was briefly joined by one of the turtles, who was wandering by, possibly looking for someplace to lay some eggs?

In attendance: Felicia, Sarge, Sarah, Jon, Marga, Matt, Cassandra, Rita, Cathy, Maddalena, Bill, Pedro, Sam, Michael, Ross and Bob. Facilitating: Marga

Committee notes: Landscape

  • For the workday, Bill’s volunteer crew moved trees and the hot tub planter away from the area where the solar pavilion is going in (right by our last remaining willow, ahead of the entrance to the plot area). The big hole there was dug for soil samples per city requirements. The pavilion framing will proceed as soon as we get an OK from the city, which could be any day now. Then the panels will be installed. We’ll need to fundraise for a battery – may approach local businesses. The pavilion will be a 20×20 structure supplying power to the garden and granting us independence from the grid. We can have a solar-powered movie night, use it to power amps, and ride out the zombie apocalypse in the garden.
  • This season we’ll need to move the Hügel beds in to allow for the installation of the new fence (which will happen at or after the end of this season, in the fall).
  • Bill got us a genius donation of sod from Loverboy (the bar/pizza place around the corner), which had held a “Garden party” event with sod covering the bar. Nearly covers the lawn – Bill seeded the remaining patch. for sod.
  • We agreed the dome can go on the lawn since it’s an open latticework structure and won’t shade the lawn. It will remain fenced in for one month and will be open to the public for one day, May 12.
  • Water is a critical issue. The rain barrels were empty and that new sod will need watering. We have put a request in with Parks to get it turned on early. Have to be conservative with water until that happens.
  • Prima is doing really well – the moss is catching on. We agreed that we need a workshop with her installers on how to take care of the moss and the pump system.


  • Cylinders will be changed and as of the next member meeting (moved to Sunday, May 13 because of the Earth Celebrations Ecological Cities event on Saturday, May 12), old keys will no longer work and new keys will be distributed to members in good standing.


  • We’re pretty broke once we’re done paying for the pavilion (which came from a grant). Should explore grant opportunities, though it’s late in the year for many. We can also do more MERCH – T-shirts, etc.


  • For the April 22 LUNGS Spring Awakening they asked if we could make hats.
  • We need volunteers for the May 12 Ecological City to portray a flood – 7-10 adults and kids should do it. Bill, Sarge, Ross and Felicia said they’re game.
  • We agreed to host an NYC Civic Corps Program event on May 24 with 80-100 attendees. Rita and Felicia will steward.
  • Felicia wants to do a fish fry in August.


  • Will include compost, along with pond, bees, etc., and activism/outreach.
  • Having their first meeting this Saturday, the 21st, at 11am.
  • Focus will be on sustainability and permaculture, in keeping with the garden’s historic mission. We have space, can host panels and events, etc.
  • We had a discussion of the Albany march (Monday, April 23) demanding that Cuomo do more on climate change, shared some terrifying projections and statistics.(13ft sea level rise by 2040 in NYC), talked about how climate change is tied to America’s foreign wars and the war at home against communities of color, etc. Jon made a beautiful banner for Albany, needs help carrying it. Sarge said he would go.


  • Last year we talked about getting tents for the BBQ area but there was no follow-through. Proposal coming soon.
  • Remember to vote on April 24.

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