BUSHWICK — A neglected 36-year-old community garden — once a vibrant hub for block parties and cookouts and home to the largest vegetable patch in the neighborhood — was bulldozed last week, uprooting the legacy of the recently deceased matron who founded it while paving the way for residential development there.
Longtime residents of Linden Street had watched the Bushwick-Linden Community Garden sink into neglect over the last five years, as fewer and fewer families stayed on the block and transient residents moved in, without a younger generation willing to step up and care for the garden.
The woman who founded the garden in 1981, Avellar Hansley and her daughter Martha Coxson, no longer had the strength to care for it.
The lot was slapped with violations for trash and rodents, and when it was finally leveled last week, neighbors watched it go with a mix of sadness and resignation — yet another sign of the rapidly changing neighborhood.
“It’s the way the neighborhood is now. I feel disconnected from my neighborhood now,” said Kareem Devonish, 27, a post office worker and building manager who grew up on the block and fondly recalled many an afternoon spent playing and eating in the community garden.
When sidewalk sheds shot up around the lot last week, and workers started ripping up trees and plants, he had no idea what was happening.
“I just saw this randomly go up. I had to ask, ‘What’s going on?'” he said. “It was so abrupt.”
Devonish said he hadn’t stepped foot in the garden for more than two years, since he had children of his own and hadn’t thought to lend a hand.
“Now I wish I did,” he said.
He sold the lot for $8.75 million to luxury condo developers Heritage Real Estate Partners and said he’ll use the money to buy out his two brothers, who are partners in the store and wanted to get out. Adipietro added that he’ll now be able to pass the business down to his…