Abandoned Garden Lots in Melrose

"Ad showing the free land in the Bronx for sale"

“Ad showing the free land in the Bronx for sale”

By Aalayah Bennett

In the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Melrose in the South Bronx, the amount of open spaces and lots are inviting to many residents.

“I wish somebody would make something out of the lots just taking up space”, Viviana Rodriguez, an Ecadourian mother of two said as she watched her sons, 6 year-old Jordan Rodriguez, and 12 year-old Jorge Rodriguez run around the P.S. 29 baseball field. “If they use it to make something, at least the community could come together for something”, she concluded. This statement showed her overall unhappiness with the area. When asked if she would leave the area because of this, she replied, “I would if I could just so I could give my children a better environment that has a home feel”.

Numerous empty grass lots are sprawled throughout the South Bronx due to no ones interest in creating something in the area like a new garden, or even a bigger park. One garden project that was set to be finished in the spring of this year is still incomplete since not enough people volunteered to help. This neighborhood is one where many people are very friendly but don’t put in the effort to help keep the community stable. As leftover tools and soil lay around the project, some of the plants that were planted were lucky enough to have grown, and blossom.

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“Unfinished garden project shows some plants actually growing”

Shane Martinez, a 15 year-old of mixed background says some of the parks around the neighborhood aren’t that fun anymore. “There’s not many things in the parks, and even though people are friendly, I still think the parks are horrible”. He continued, “I’d like it if they just like make the best park ever because all of this space is ridiculous to waste”.

Currently, there are no other plans to finish the garden project or to start any other projects on the empty lots in Melrose.

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