During the Spring of 1995, the owners of three Village restaurants, Veselka, Two Boots and Life Cafe decided to form The East Village Parks Conservancy. They approached their neighbors and developed a mission statement which was simple and to the point: "To clean Tompkins Square and add plants."
The first chairperson was Sandra Turner. She lived on the ground floor of the yellow building across from Tompkins Square, halfway between the Library and Life Cafe. Sandra's local political activities were restricted by illness, yet she agreed to try directing the new group from her kitchen table. She did attend a couple of meetings in the Park itself in a wheelchair, but her kitchen was certainly centrally located and the arrangement worked well. In the summer, when her windows were open, she could even hear Harry, the Parks Department's Keeper of the Park, boom out over his loudspeaker system, "Good Morning, Sandy ."
Sandra died in February of 1977. Those who want to stay in touch with their personal memories of her can always do so at the red-leafed street tree planted across from her window. It has a brass plaque dedicated to her as "An Advocate for Parks." The rest of us can more simply enjoy the "Sandra Turner Garden" in Tompkins Park, located between the central flagpole and the Temperance Fountain. Tom Murphy, a volunteer gardener, makes this a garden that would have met Sandy's high standards. It looks beautiful at any time of year.
Click to see views of The Sandra Turnder Garden