Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and revitalizing parks, community gardens and public space in New York City, today announced the opening of the Target East Harlem Community Garden.

Underwritten by Target, the garden was designed by nationally acclaimed designer and television host Sean Conway. Using cutting-edge sustainable technology to eliminate dependence on outside energy, Conway’s design provides the East Harlem community a truly green space in which to relax, garden and enjoy time outdoors.

“From the very moment we began working with Target, it became clear to us that we share the same ideas and ideals,” said Midler, Founder of NYRP. “Target as a company prides itself on excellence, both in service, products and design. We also both care deeply about families and the places where they live. The transformation of urban blight into welcoming green space is a vital step in reclaiming what rightfully belongs to the community. On behalf of all of us at NYRP and the Target East Harlem Community Garden, a heartfelt thank you to Target for your generous support.”

The newly renovated garden will allow members of the East Harlem community to access an optimal growing environment as well as a neighborhood green for hosting events. The garden will open with a special weekend of events and activities, including garden games, educational activities, seminars and meet-and-greet opportunities with NYRP’s talented horticulture teams. With the ongoing help of NYRP’s garden coordinator, community members will be able to host movie nights, garden workshops, family days and more in the space.

The Target East Harlem Community Garden is the second New York Restoration Project garden revitalization initiative that Target has supported. In October 2007, NYRP celebrated the opening of the Target Community Garden in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, which also was designed by Sean Conway.

“Target is proud to join with New York Restoration Project on the opening of the second Target Community Garden,” said Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target. “We hope that the garden will become a welcoming green space for the neighborhood and the entire East Harlem community to enjoy.”

Conway took an artist’s approach in creating the space’s aesthetic with a two-level layout ideal for socializing and relaxing, as well as gardening that is both visually interesting and distinct. Iron gates lead the way to a stone pathway as you enter the open air garden, which then transitions to a lush, green lawn. This new green is bordered by a stone seating wall offering those basking in the garden’s light a place to rest. The raised perennial and vegetable garden beds will spotlight the hard work of the community, making it a focal point of this new neighborhood gathering place.

“Gardens and open space are important to the quality of life in every community,” said Sean Conway. “The creation of this garden will give the residents of the East Harlem community a place to garden, enjoy community activities and appreciate the beauty of their own neighborhood. I am honored that Target asked me to be part of this exciting project.”

NYRP and Sean Conway have outfitted the newly designed garden with wind turbines and solar panels which will power the 5,000 square foot garden’s LED (Light-Emitting Diode) energy efficient lighting and a built-in irrigation system. A rainwater harvesting system will collect rainwater for gardeners to nourish healthy vegetable and flower beds throughout the growing season, reducing the garden’s dependence on local water supply and therefore reducing expenses.

In addition to its numerous energy-saving features, the garden will also offer community gardeners and area residents access to compost bins, to recycle organic household and yard waste. Adding compost to the soil ultimately returns needed organic matter and nutrients into the earth, yielding better results for gardeners and reducing the amount of “green” waste going into landfills.

“The opening of NYRP’s Target East Harlem Community Garden is an important step in helping achieve many of the environmental and community goals set out by the Go Green East Harlem initiative,” said Drew Becher.

Introduced by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in 2007, Go Green East Harlem is a community driven initiative to revive, create and improve open space in the neighborhood of East Harlem. The garden opening is also serving as the official kick-off of NYRP’s Keepin’ It Green Month which is being celebrated throughout the month of October and includes community garden openings, tree giveaways and planting clinics, community volunteer planting days, a MillionTreesNYC anniversary celebration, Open House New York, and culminates with NYRP’s annual Hulaween gala on October 31.

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