3. A Lower East Side Garden Was a Former African American Burial Ground

Kalunga Garden on the Lower East Side

In 1929, New York City purchased land on the Lower East Side to widen Chrystie and Forsythe Streets and to construct low-cost housing. However, that plan was never realized and in 1934, the Sara Delano Roosevelt Park was constructed on the site (named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s mother).

It contains the M’Finda Kalunga Garden, named in memory of an African American burial ground that was located adjacent to the park on Chrystie Street, between Rivington and Stanton Streets. The land served as the city’s second African American burial ground between 1794 and 1853, before the remains were disinterred and sent to Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.