Save Imani Willow Fundraiser Update

Pareesa Pourian Sketch of Historic Imani Weeping Willow


Buy a Ticket and Place An Ad in our Event Booklet

On October 1st, the Imani Gardeners will be hosting a fundraiser at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture at 2 PM.   The event will focus on our struggle to preserve our garden over the past year and celebrate 10 years of gardening at Imani.  Featured will be a video about Saving the Weeping Willow,  a talk about ways we can save land for the community in the future, an art auction, vegetables and medicinals from the garden, music and refreshments.  Tickets for the event will be $20 if you purchase in advance and $25 at the door.  To purchase your ticket click here.

If you can’t make the event and would still like to show your support, or you’d like to honor your favorite charity, to honor a relative or community member or just thank the Imani Gardeners for their work, consider placing an ad in our event booklet.

Ad rates are as follows:
Business card: $50  Up to 12 words
1/4 page: $75  Up to 25 words
1/2 page: $125  Up to 50 words
Full page: $200  Up to 100 words
Inside back cover: $400  Up to 100 words
Inside front cover: $400  Up to 100 words
Back cover: $500  Up to 100 words

Ad prices

After you’ve paid for your ad, send an email to “”, tell us the name on the credit card you used to pay, the size ad you purchased and what you’d like the ad to say, up to number of words allowed for your ad size.

Thanks for supporting Imani Garden and Saving the Weeping Willow.

BSEC is located at 53 Prospect Park West between 1st and 2nd Streets.

Press coverage of Imani Garden

Channel 12

Prospect Heights Patch

Imani Gardeners Kick off Campaign To Save the Weeping Willow

On July 17th, the owner of the middle lot at Imani I had threatened to install fences that would have cut the Imani Garden in two pieces.  In response, garden members called a press conference for 4 PM that day and invited the press to come and witness the destruction of our garden.

What happened instead is that, not only did the owner NOT put up the fences, he offered to sell his lot to anyone interested in buying it.  We are seeking purchasers interested in donating the lot to NYRP, the non-profit gardening group that owns the remaining 2/3’s of Imani Garden.  Warning!  This won’t be cheap, so only wealthy benefactors need apply.  Our estimate: somewhere in the vicinity of $500,000.   Think of who you know that could spare a half a million to help a struggling historic garden in Weeksville.  Read below for more information on Weeksville, NYC’s oldest independent African-American community.   Of course, any donation will be fully tax-deductible.

Preparing pizza for the oven
Firing the oven.
Everybody gets to help out.
Cutting the pie just out of the oven.
Getting the details down.

Saving the Willow Becomes Priority One

Now almost two years after the sale, we are regrouping and planning renewed efforts to save the garden.   Please join us on October 1st for a fund-raiser at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.  Our steering committee is looking at a number of ideas for the event, including an art auction, a screening of a video about saving the weeping willow, maybe even a march to Mayor DeBlasio’s former home in Park Slope! The historic willow that is the centerpiece of Imani I is an integral part of Weeksville, the oldest independent African-American community in New York City. If the new owner’s plans are fulfilled, the iconic willow would be replaced with a 7 unit apartment building, with apartments most likely unaffordable to the people in Weeksville.

Corner stone from Bethel Tabernacle AME

The site of Imani Garden, at 87-91 Schenectady Avenue is at the center of the historic Weeksville founded in 1838.  The founder of Weeksville, James Weeks, is said to have resided on Schenectady Avenue near Atlantic Avenue, one block from Imani Garden.  Directly across from Imani is the Bethel Tabernacle AME church.  A corner stone in the church bears the date “1847” just 9 years after Weeksville was founded.   James Weeks may well have attended this church as it was very near his house.   According to historic records, Bethel AME has been at this location since its founding, although the current structure is much newer.


Entrance to PS 83 built 1898

Across is the street from Bethel AME is an abandoned structure with a long and interesting history.  It is the former PS 83, built in 1898 and closed in 1959.  It was  replaced by PS 243, the Weeksville School, which is next door.  Previously PS 83 had been Colored School #2.   The original school dates to a least the 1850’s.  In 1893,  Phillip A. White,  the first African-American member of the Brooklyn Board of Education, integrated the school and changed its number of PS 83.   It was thus the first integrated school in Brooklyn and while it was successful, no other public schools in Brooklyn were integrated until 1900.  In that year,  Brooklyn schools became part of the New York City Board of Education after the merging of Brooklyn with New York City.   Segregated schools were officially banned in New York City.

Side view of PS 83, opposite Bethel Tabernacle AME
PS 83 from the corner of Dean and Schenectady.
































Be sure to attend our fund raiser to save the historic weeping willow at Imani Garden.  BSEC is located at 53 Prospect Park West at 2nd Street in Park Slope. Reserve the date now and tell your friends. We’re hoping for a great turn-out.  For more information about the historic willow, watch our video, shot a year ago by Sara Laufer.





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