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Elizabeth Street Garden Supporters Plan Protest at Mayor's Gym

 Garden advocates attended the mayor's speech at Cooper Union and said they managed to personally hand him an invitation to come to the garden.
Garden advocates attended the mayor's speech at Cooper Union and said they managed to personally hand him an invitation to come to the garden.
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Twitter/@ElizabethStGrdn

NEW YORK CITY — Supporters of a beloved Nolita garden that the city has targeted for development plan to protest outside Mayor Bill de Blasio's Park Slope gym Tuesday morning.

The city recently solicited proposals from developers to build affordable senior housing at the site of the Elizabeth Street Garden, between Prince and Spring streets.

Local volunteers who maintain the garden and formed the nonprofit Friends of Elizabeth Street Garden plan to bring "dozens of residents from Little Italy, Nolita and the surrounding neighborhoods" to the YMCA on Ninth Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, where de Blasio still exercises even though he lives in Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side.

They will have a trumpeter playing "Reveille," the bugle call used to wake people in the Army, as they did at a similar protest outside Councilwoman Margaret Chin's office recently.

Chin is spearheading the plan to build on the garden, which she negotiated as part of the Council's approval of the SPURA development on the Lower East Side.

A spokeswoman for the garden supporters said the 9 a.m. protest is part of a "long-term 'Wake-Up' campaign directed at educating the mayor and all those seeking to destroy Elizabeth Street Garden."

Garden supporters have said that it attracts more than 100,000 visitors and hosts more than 200 free public events a year.

READ MORE: Here's What You Need to Know About Fight Over Elizabeth Street Garden

They want the city to build the senior housing at a larger site about a mile west on Hudson Street that is currently under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The city has attempted to pacify garden supporters by requiring any developer at the Elizabeth Street site to create a 5,000-square-foot park, fulfilling a decades-old promise to turn the Hudson Street site as well as a handful of other DEP-controlled sites into public parks

READ MORE: The Village and SoHo Will Get New Parks at Long-Promised Sites, City Says

However, after a recent update on park improvement plans in the Village and SoHo neglected to include any of those sites, the Parks Department said the funding hasn't been allocated yet.

READ MORE: Park Projects in the Village, SoHo Moving Forward, City Says

The mayor also pledged during one of his appearances on WNYC's "The Brian Lehrer Show" to visit the garden, but he has not done so yet, and his office has repeatedly failed to respond to inquiries as to when he plans to fulfill that promise.

READ MORE: Elizabeth St. Garden Advocates Press Mayor to Make Good on Promise to Visit

The city's police officers' union previously targeted the mayor's gym as a protest site, ultimately winning a favorable contract with the city.