me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Guerrilla gardening

Okay, not exactly. But here's what happened: on my way to the gym a few hours ago I passed the husk of St. Vincent's Hospital, a collection of buildings that was, yes, a once-great hospital, forced to close a year ago by incompetent unto criminal mismanagement. (The closing brought forth from me a number of tirades, none of which has made it onto this blog, lucky you.) A few schemes have been floated for re-use of the extremely valuable real estate; nothing's settled yet.

About twenty years ago the hospital expanded, including taking over a triangle block for a loading dock, with goods moving by elevator to an underground distribution system. In order to get away with that piece of beyond-the-zoning chicanery, they were forced to provide a garden on a small piece of the site so the community would have something to look at besides their ugly blank brick walls. That garden was weeds all last spring, summer and fall, what with the hospital closed and all. There's a low, sloping wall around it that the skateboarders love. St. Vincent's put up a fence to keep them off it, but mysteriously part of the fence has now disappeared, and there's been a lot of action there these past few weeks, what with the hospital closed and all.

So today I'm walking by, and inside the garden are two young persons, a woman and a man, hoeing and digging, weeding and turning soil. Just as I'm thinking I have to know who they are and what they're doing, since the hospital's obviously not paying for this, what with... Just as I'm thinking this, the young woman calls over one of the skateboarders. You can see him thinking up the hostile way he's going to dismiss whatever way she thinks up to ask him to cease and desist. But what she says, pointing to a couple of spots along the edge, is, "If there were trees here and here, would that interfere with you guys?" He's taken aback, as am I; then he allows as how that would be fine, no problem. She says, "That's great, we're thinking about apple trees." He gets back on his board to run the wall again, and I ask the young woman who they are and what they're doing in there. Turns out the site is still managed by the NY Horticultural Society, which was the deal with St. Vincent's, and they're trying to very fast turn it into a community garden, so that by the time a deal does get done, whatever entity is the new owner of all this valuable real estate won't even try to change the zoning that provided for the garden. They're setting it up now, and they'll be doing a big outreach in a month or two. So these two are in there clearing out garbage and turning dirt.

See, the son of a bitch thing about life is, just when you're ready to throw in the towel, people like this come along and make you think maybe it will be worth it to get up in the morning tomorrow, after all.

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