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One of the many great things about living in Melrose is our abundance of community gardens which are a substitute for the lack of actual parks in the neighborhood.

This morning I had the pleasure of checking out the A. Badillo Community Garden on East 163rd Street between Melrose and Brook Avenues. It is one of the largest in the neighborhood and like many, it boasts the traditional Puerto Rican casita or little house.

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The garden has been around for about 5 years and each morning between 8 and 9 Jose, who retired after Ford closed its Tarrytown plant over a decade ago, can be found opening up the place.

Born in the Bronx but raised in Puerto Rico before coming back to New York, Jose spends his time at the garden relaxing, playing dominoes or gardening.

He said that the garden is open to anyone and everyone so if you’re in the neighborhood, feel free to stop by and say hi or sit a spell and relax from the daily stresses of life.

Support your local community gardens!

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The centerpiece of the garden is the little house, or casita, nestled under a great willow tree.

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Melrose Building Materials, which is located across the street from the garden, graciously donates bricks, cement and granite slabs for the garden.

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Eggplants are just one of the many crops you'll find here.

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Behind the house you'll find a picnic area.
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No community garden is complete without a rustic, Puerto Rican-styled outdoor kitchen.

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La casita is ready for Halloween!

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José, who's retired, can be found here daily. He keeps his tools handy in case his mechanic skills are needed.

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"Each day a garden is destroyed. Save ours."
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Melrose Building Materials – good neighbors who supply the garden with their needs.
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