Description & Building Alterations
La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Community Garden is a unique open-air theater and green space, combining the functions of a community garden, a park and play area, wildlife refuge and performance venue. Thousands of people from diverse cultures use the space every year. It is a vital arena for theater, dance, music, art and social gatherings. In 2003, La Plaza was renamed in memory of Armando Perez, a CHARAS founder and former District Leader of the Lower East Side who was killed in 1999.
La Plaza Cultural de Armando Perez Community Garden was founded in 1976 by local residents and greening activists who took over what were then a series of vacant city lots piled high with rubble and trash. In an effort to improve the neighborhood during a downward trend of disinvestment, arson, drugs, and abandonment common in that era, members of the Latino group CHARAS cleared out truckloads of refuse. Working with Buckminster Fuller, they built a geodesic dome in the open “plaza” and began staging cultural events. Green Guerillas pioneer Liz Christy seeded the turf with “seed bombs” and planted towering weeping willows and linden trees. Artist Gordon Matta-Clark helped construct La Plaza’s amphitheater using railroad ties and materials reclaimed from abandoned buildings. The fence once featured an art installation by Rolando Politi, a collection of flower-like sculptures made from recycled trash covering the upper part. In February 2019, the garden was closed to replace the fence, which was rusting and falling apart.
Block : 391 / Lot : 024 / Building Date : N/A / Original Owner : N/A / Original Use : Community Garden / Original Architect : N/A