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BY SARAH FERGUSON | After being fenced out for 10 months, members of the Children’s Magical Garden filed a claim of adverse possession on Mon., March 10, against Lower East Side developer Serge Hoyda and the development entity 157, LLC, seeking to reclaim the portion of the garden that Hoyda took over last May.
The gardeners say they staked their claim on “lot 19” and two others on the corner of Norfolk and Stanton Sts. more than 30 years ago, when it was just a vacant patch of land festering with trash, rats and used needles. They planted fruit trees and vegetables, transforming the parcel over the years into a vital green space and learning center for L.E.S. children.
“After Plaintiff’s claim and uninterrupted possession for thirty years, Defendants cannot now re-emerge to seize this land for themselves. Lot 19 belongs to the Children’s Magical Garden,” claims the lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court on March 10.
In June, the city transferred the garden’s other two lots to the Parks Department to preserve them as green space.
Whether this suit can put a halt to development plans already afoot for this sliver of land remains to be seen. In November, Hoyda’s firm filed plans to erect a six-story, six-unit residential building on the site, replete with penthouse and gym.
And in January, Hoyda sold the lot for $3.35 million to 157, LLC, a limited-liability corporation registered to David Marom, owner of the Horizon Group, a Yonkers-based real estate development and investment firm that is developing another luxury residence off Delancey St.
C.M.G. members planned a press conference and rally at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday morning to explain their legal strategy. They are promising “News, Justice and Donuts,” along with free hot chocolate to anyone who shows up on the way to work or school to show support.