Some Brooklynites vow to take the city to court after workers bulldozed a community garden this weekend that sits on city land slated for development. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Aleksandr Sokolov examined the ruins of a community garden he grew to love, feeling betrayed by elected leaders.
"Just like Russia," he said. "No difference."
Neighbors say at least one bulldozer flattened the field of greens starting before dawn Saturday morning.
"Like bandits, government officials sent people to destroy our gardens," Sokolov said.
The Boardwalk Community Garden plot provided fruit and vegetables to dozens of volunteers, who tended to chickens and rabbits living on the land as well.
"A lot of people here on the pension, retired people, a few young families," Sokolov said. "I give my vegetables to three families, for me, for my daughter's family and my sister's family
The vegetation, though, grew on city land at 22nd Street and the Coney Island Boardwalk.
The City Council this month approved the plan to develop the plot and the lot next to it, the crumbling but historic Child's Restaurant, into a new restaurant, a 5,000-seat amphitheater and a public space.
Officials offered up use of an existing community garden five blocks to the west, but these growers said that that is insufficient and used by others.
"They don't think about people," Sokolov said. "They think only about money."
Despite the anger among community garden members and some residents, others walking along the boardwalk believe this is a good thing.
"Economically speaking, it's something good being put back into the community," said one person.
Outgoing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has said that the project in the historic area along the boardwalk will provide jobs and encourage residential and commercial development.
Garden advocates promise to fight in court, but the development is expected to go up quickly, with a completion date set for spring of 2015.