Lydia’s Magic Garden (LMG), (formerly The Magic Garden) located between 118 street and 117 street on Park avenue is a community garden established in 1991 by Lydia Roman. Tired of seeing her community with empty lots of garbage, Roman decided to make a difference by creating beautiful gardens. Since the Mid 80’s Lydia has created three lovely gardens that have enhanced the El Barrio community. Lydia’s gardens produced organic cabbage, tomatoes, fresh mint, peppers and eggplant, in the summer. Roses, lilies, sunflowers and many other plant life grew plentifully, adding color to the neighborhood. The casitas gave members of the community a place to relax and enjoy the lovely view. Kids from local schools visit Lydia’s garden to learn about planting flowers and vegetables.
Lydia’s Magic Garden has won the Molly Parnis Dress Up Your Neighborhood contest five years straight (1994 -1998). It has been featured in Garden Magazine, Urban Latino Magazine, The Village Voice, El Vocerro de Puerto Rico and El Diario la Prensa. Photos of this beautiful garden have also been showcased in El Museo del Barrio and an exhibit about New York City Gardens at the Museum of the City of New York. Mrs. Roman has received The NYC Volunteerism Award by the Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger in 1994 for her hard work and dedication. The 2006 Latin Grammy, shown at Madison Square Garden, aired a segment called, “100 Years of Latinos living in New York” featuring Lydia’s Magic Garden as a prestigious location in El Barrio. Children from the local schools visit the garden to learn about gardening. Mrs. Roman was also honored with El Diario Mujeres Destacadas (Outstanding Women) recognition for her gardening and volunteer work in Spanish Harlem.
After more than 20 years of serving East Harlem community Lydia’s Magic Garden was downsized by redevelopment in 2012. We are now working with residents, local business and community leaders of East Harlem to help restore this once known beautiful urban oasis. We are always looking for members who can help make decisions and volunteers that can lend a hand to help maintain the garden. We welcome you to join.
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