History of Clifton Place Memorial Garden and Park

Clifton Place Memorial Garden and Park was founded in 1982, by Compton DeAbreu, Evelyn Jordan and other members of the Clifton Place Block Association.

The garden plot had been the site of a large apartment building that had been abandoned by its owner, falling into extreme disrepair and tax arrears.

The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development seized the building and invited community members to submit petitions for development. Several suggestions, such as turning the plot into an income-generating parking lot, were submitted by various community members.

The Clifton Place Block Association sent a letter of request to community board asking permission to develop the site into a community garden. At the time, publicly accessible community gardens were still a relative novelty, and the HPD eventually approved the Block Association’s application, and the Clifton Place Community Garden was born.

Once the project was approved, Green Thumb, which had just started in 1980 and was funded by a federal block grant, helped the Block Association members establish the garden. Green Thumb provided much needed tools and fencing, assisted in clean-up of the property, helped with construction of plots, donated soil, seedlings, and other necessary items.

The garden is still going strong thirty-plus years later. As a matter of fact, 4 generations of the founding President’s family have been a part of the Clifton Place Community Garden family- to this day, Mr. DeAbreu’s daughter, Deb, and her 8 year old grandson are active garden members and passionate gardeners.

Since its inception in 1982, Clifton Place Memorial Garden members have made many extensive improvements.

In 1982 we established the garden- cleaned up site and built plots.

In 1989 we replaced the original plank and chicken wire fence with a more secure chain link fence and gate via then City Councilwoman Annette Ronbinson’s discretionary funds.

In 2001 we installed a rain water harvest system, with the help of Green Thumb.

In 2001 and 2007 we purchased sturdy storage sheds.

In 2001 we restructured the layout of the garden in 2001 and added plots and shrubbery.

In 2009 we made provisions to rent a port-a-potty for the garden season. This year the port-a-potty is handicapped accessible.

This year we have added a concrete pathway, making our garden wheel chair accessible and refurbished our deck area, added a railing and concrete ramp and reseeded the lawn.  Several major improvement projects are currently in the works.

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