As he watched his Manhattan neighborhood crumble and burn around him in the urban decay of the 1970s, Adam Purple decided to build a garden. For roughly a decade from the 1970s until 1985, Purple’s Garden of Eden earthwork expanded with concentric circles as more and more buildings were torn down. Photographer Harvey Wang is marking the 25th anniversary of the garden’s destruction with an exhibition at the Fusion Arts gallery running through February 20.
Adam Purple built the his Garden of Eden by hand and invited the community in to find comfort and grow food. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York points out that the plot eventually grew to over 15,000 square feet covered with rose bushes, fruit and nut trees, edible crops, and other greenery.
The city bulldozed the site in 1986 to make way for a housing project despite proposals from architects to build around the garden. Be sure to check out Jeremiah’s interview with photographer Harvey Wang and check out the exhibition before it ends. Here’s a short video on the Garden of Eden from the exhibition’s KickStarter page: