(Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images North America)
On November 3, 2008, 50 Cent, along with New York Restoration Project founder Bette Midler, had the honor of celebrating the opening of the The Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden in Queens on 117-19 165th Street. A native of Jamaica, Queens, 50 Cent and his G-Unity Foundation joined forces with NYRP to bring landscape architect Walter Hood’s designs to life in his old neighborhood as part of his personal mission to give back to the community that has supported him over the years. Students from neighborhood schools and members of the community toured this learning garden, which was designed very much with them in mind. Students and residents now have the opportunity to utilize this space for educational purposes, as well as for fun uses such as barbeques and social gatherings.
“I am thrilled that 50 Cent and the G-Unity Foundation have become such a vital part of the NYRP family,” said Midler. “We are a perfect match! They are dedicated to helping underserved communities just as we are, and there is nothing more important to me than providing open green spaces for families to use for gardening, education, relaxing, and having fun. I salute 50 Cent for using his celebrity to bring a healthier lifestyle to his childhood community, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.”
The newly renovated garden will give members of the community access to much needed green space. According to Queens Community Board 12, the area currently has only 5% of the recommended amount of outdoor/open space to serve the neighborhoods 52,000 children. Community garden members will be able to host numerous activities in the space with the help of NYRP’s garden coordinator, including: movie nights, garden workshops, family days and more.
“It is an honor and a privilege for me to partner with Bette Midler and New York Restoration Project to bring this garden to Jamaica, Queens, my childhood neighborhood,” said G-Unity Foundation founder, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. “Every child should have access to open, green space where they can learn, play and be active in their community.”
Incorporating a children’s learning garden, community vegetable plots, a patio area and sustainable technology for maintaining the space into the landscape, Hood’s designs offer something for everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy. A rainwater harvesting system with six 10 ft tall funnels to collect and store rainwater offers regular irrigation to the garden and will also double as the patio providing a shaded section for rest and relaxation.
“Public spaces should be the places where culture literally articulates its view about how it wants to live. And that means artists who are involved in making these places are responsible for elevating those communities, those environments, to a place of artistic beauty that connects people to the world around them.” said Walter Hood.