Day after day I walk through the city.
Sometimes I ride.
To Ft Greene, where Walk W saw the universe in a leaf of grass and fought for a Park.
To East River Park, where the jackhammers are pumping, the trees are going down.
“They have taken out a quarter of the locusts…” says Peter. “so many trees... pines…”
I want to run in and hug a tree.
People all over the city are joining the campaign to save the park.
The police are protecting the construction company, cutting down as many trees as they can, killing the trees to help protect us from climate change.
The Orwellian logic is lost on few of us, war for peace, fucking for virginity, etc.
The city is violating a TRO, hell bent on killing trees. Violating state alienation law that protects from the taking of parkland for alternate uses or commercial purposes.
You are in contempt of court, we chant at the police blocking the entrance to the park.
We’d just heard that morning.
Look out for the trees.
Look out for each other, love each other.
Chainsaws are in motion, while the trade unions are rallying in Long Island City.
Saturday, I rode North, past the Navy Yard, up to Williamsburg, past the Domino Plant, along the once industrial waterfront, up to Greenpoint, into Long Island City, feeling the wonder of the city.
Fight, fight, fight, we scream, education is a right.
“We need a #NewDeal4CUNY,” says Hercules, “an investment in our students and future of our city and its recovery.”
In the East Village, Al’s sitting in the hospital, wondering what happened.
And Tim is up the street, at NYU, thinking the same thing, ALS wearing at him.
Many of us are.
Onward, we look at the city.
Sometimes it's lonely, says the teenager, after our walk to Red Hook, up to Al and back to Tompkins Square Park.
Sometimes, it's everything, I think.
I felt it with my comrades at the rally,
Alex and Karl and Ben and Paul and Nora…. everyone telling stories, catching up.
The teenager is back home after a walk of her own
The older one is out skating all afternoon after our lunch together, exploring the murals in Bushwick.
Onward, a year since I saw the Ditchdigger.
I’m back says Micah at Judson.
What sparks your joy?
I think of the bike ride the day before.
“We need you as we need the earth we share,” writes Maya Angelou.
“A poem of new joys,” says Walt W.
Where do you want to go?
What do you need to do?
Stop to breathe.
The angel of god dropped by.
Says divine joy is growing inside her body.
Revolving, the spark is spreading, Micah preaches, sounding like a science fiction storyteller.
A pulsing empire smashing embodiment is coming.
Empire wants to kill joy.
I think about the trees being killed in the park.
Tim is smiling in the hospital, fearing and reading,
laughing, afraid, not afraid thinking about endless bodies ... a his slows...
We read howl, stories of endless cocks and balls, old struggles and journal entries about a city, with friends in hospital beds, and machinery killing trees, fencing us out of community spaces.
We ride along the water, talking about rallies past.
Looking at the East River, meeting everyone at Houston Street, for a rally for the park.
@1000people1000trees says you cant pave your way into storm.water retention...
This is about human needs vs real estate …
This is the people's park....
The city is destroying the best place to get fresh air...The people are distraught…
This was our place to meet, to bike ride, to find some peace.
The destruction of free public space is something that connects all of us....
All of our issues are connected.
'There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives,” says one of the speakers, paraphrasing Audre Lorde.
“In a world of possibility for us all, our personal visions help lay the groundwork for political action,” says Audre Lorde, “In order to be whole, we must recognize the despair oppression plants within each of us – that thin persistent voice that says our efforts are useless.”
“This has been a hell week,” says the next speaker. “We have to heal. We have to look out for each other. We say no.”
People have been coming from all over the city to support each other.
“Bury the highway not the park!!!” we scream in, fenced off from our beloved amphitheater, that was once our public commons, now facing destruction.
“We’re asking Bill how many trees did you kill?
You don't give a shit about the people's will.”
Councilman elect@chrismartenyc says we have to be there to defend the park over the next 21 days.
“Let's have an earth riot,” says @revbillytalen ... let's look out for each other... look out for the trees.. be there for the park and our city.
All through high school we went to East River Park says @Mothtreee, looking about, watching, marching.
More chants, more arrests.
We go back to visit Al, still in the hospital.
Down the hall, someone is screaming they want to go home.
There is a lot of pain, revolving.
A man with alzheimers has to be restrained.
Early Monday, I ride back to the park as the sun is rising.
Park defenders are there.
A few have been arrested, blocking construction trucks.
The destruction continues.
Its hard to know what to do, how to act.
Waiting for word from a judge about the TRO.
Friday Message from East River Park Action
Trees Being Cut NOW in violation of Temporary Restraining Order
Tree cutters showed up in East River Park at 6:00 a.m. and are now at work chain sawing the locusts in the dance circle just south of the Houston Street entrance. They are defying the stay granted by the Court of Appeals.
Please go to the park and join the others already gathered there trying to stop the demolition.
The police emailed, "Apparently their legal team [the city's attorneys] advised that construction can move forward."
Two of our activists are getting arrested right now. People trying to get the city to respect the law are the ones being arrested. (If you go to protest, you won't get arrested if you stay outside the construction fence.)
Our attorney Arthur Z. Schwartz filed for a restraining order at 4:00 a.m. It asks for a "reaffirmation of the stay preventing further destruction of East River Park," which should stay in effect at least until Dec. 20, when the state's highest court will considern our request for review.
Go to the park now. #SaveEastRiverPark. If you can't get to the park, please donate for our legal help. Thank you.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tree Cutting Saturday Morning
NYPD defying court order, made sure protesters didn't block vehicle entrance at Montgomery St.
Press conference 1:00 p.m., East River Park, Houston St. entrance
Capt. Luis E. Barcia, Commander of the 7th Precinct was on site where construction workers entered at 6:30 this morning. Park Activist Tommy Loeb said that Barcia acknowledged that he has a copy of the court order that should stay the work. It's from the Appeals Court, the highest court in the state. However, according to Loeb, "He has been told by higher ups that he’s supposed to let the construction workers in.”
Protesters have been unable to stop the work. Harriet Hirshorn and Alice O'Malley were arrested yesterday trying to deliver the Temporary Restraining Order to supervisors of the demolition inside the construction fence.
Attorney Kathryn Freed said that the document the police were using to allow the demolition to proceed was "an internal memo" from the Department of Design and Construction. "They’re taking that as more important as the highest court in the state.”
Activists, who have been protesting as work proceeds, say that the city is trying to demolish as much as they can before Monday, when the Court of Appeals will act on the contempt citation East River Park Action attorneys sent to Albany.
As of yesterday, they had cut trees from Houston to the tennis courts just north of Delancy. They had ripped up the soccer field south of the Williamsburg Bridge and the seal park across from Grand St.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rush Killing of East River Park continues 24/7 over weekend.
NYPD refuses to enforce
2:00 p.m. Rally
Corlears Hook entrance to East River Park
by Amphitheater (Cherry and Jackson are the nearest streets)
with environmental activist
Rev. Billy and the Stop Shopping choir
Crews spent Saturday night demolishing East River Park and continued Sunday morning. NYPD has held back demonstrators. They continue to defy the rule of law, and instead show a document from Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration via the Dept. of Design and Construction saying the demolition can continue.
A contempt of court motion has been sent to Court of Appeals in Albany, which will see it Monday morning. With NYPD's assuring this illegal demolition can continue, half the park will be destroyed by tomorrow.
Contractors have already cut all trees from the dance circle just south of the Houston entrance. They have razed the soccer field and basketball courts south of the Williamsburg Bridge. The workers are at the amphitheater, and it looks like the 82-year old London planes and oaks, which can live hundreds of years and were above the floodline during Hurricane Sandy, are next.
Please help our legal team continue--court costs alone are tough for our nonprofit in an un-rich neighborhood. See donation link below. Thank you.
(Correction: It was Capt. Erik Worobey of Transit--Transit??--Tommy Loeb confronted at dawn yesterday at the Montgomery St. entrance, not 7th Precinct Commander Capt. Luis Barcia. Barcia did appear later at the Houston St. construction site. Here is the video of Loeb and Worobey and copies of court documents.)