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La Plaza Cultural Armando Perez, A Place that Matters

east village urban garden la plaza cultural perez

La Plaza Cultural Armando Perez was one of honored by Place Matters at its tenth anniversary and awards ceremony in May of this year. Located at Avenue C and 9th Street, the public garden was celebrated for enhancing community life.

In the 1970s, fire and upheaval swept across the Lower East Side, leaving behind a devastating landscape of rubble and refuse. A coalition led by CHARAS/El Bohio (a neighborhood organization formerly located at the now-landmarked P.S. 64), community members and advocates cleared and reclaimed the empty lot at Avenue C and 9th Street. Together, artists and activists like architect Buckminster Fuller, artist Gordon Matta-Clark, and Green Guerillas founder Liz Christy helped local volunteers build a truly unique garden and public plaza.

Created in 1976 as La Plaza Cultural, this remarkable place is known for its generous 26,000 square foot garden. This dynamic space is a performance venue, wildlife refuge, and community center all in one. After years of fighting development pressure, the garden is now protected as a part of the NYC Parks Department. In 2003, its name was amended to evoke the memory of CHARAS founder and community leader, Armando Perez.