When he relocated to New York from Denver in 1989, Allan Reiver, skilled at recognizing the potential in underutilized properties, quickly recognized the possibilities in a weed-infested vacant lot located across the street from his apartment. The result is the Elizabeth Street Garden, where Allan Reiver has created an open space enjoyed by the entire neighborhood.
Located in Little Italy, the approximately half-acre parcel was transformed from the ground up, starting with the installation of an irrigation system, followed by grass, shrubbery, and trees. Placed meticulously throughout the garden are statues and other ornamental features collected over the years, including the signature lions, which weigh more than 2,000 pounds and are believed to be 19th or 20th century reproductions. Visitors will also find a gazebo that was originally located in a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who designed Central Park. Balustrades from a historic mansion in Philadelphia also border the garden’s pathways.
Maintained by neighborhood volunteers, the Elizabeth Street Garden is a much-loved community open space.