A local East Harlem business is picking up the pieces after it was destroyed by the devastating explosion that took place in the neighborhood two weeks ago. Undeterred by the broken flowerpots, caution tape and debris that now characterize his once bustling nursery, Dimitri Gatanas of the Urban Garden Center is on a mission to raise $50,000 to revive the defunct business and restore it as a community resource. Click through to find out how you can help support Gatanas reach his goal.


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A destination for school field trips and programming as well as a hub for the local CSA and community composting, the Urban Garden Center – located on East 116th Street and Park Avenue – served as a hub for horticulture and urban revitalization for the Spanish Harlem community. Opened in 2011 by Dimitri and his family, the business was a place for New York City gardeners to find unique design, maintenance and installation services without the use of toxic pesticides or fertilizers.

Related: Did New York’s Aging Gas Infrastructure Contribute to the Deadly Harlem Explosion?

Notable social programming housed within the 20,000-square-foot center included the East Harlem Harvest Festival, Flea Marqueta, and free tree giveaways twice yearly through the New York Restoration Project.

“We are totally aware that our losses do not compare in any way the loss that our neighbors are feeling due to their loss, pain and suffering,” says Gatanas on the center’s Go Fund Me campaign. “Our existence will brighten up this devastated part of New York City.”

Related: Massive Explosion in East Harlem Shakes Morning Commute

To reopen the Urban Garden Center, the Gatanas family will need to raise a total of $50,000. The campaign has raised over $16,000 thus far. To be part of the rebirth of this neighborhood treasure, contribute to the campaign here.

+ Urban Garden Center

Via NY Daily News

Images via Urban Garden Center Facebook Page