In Richmond Hill, A Place For Healing In 2014

Staff Writer

A Richmond Hill resident is helping turn a vacant lot into a place for healing and to raise awareness for a disease that takes thousands of lives yearly.

Anandi Premlall is among the people working to turn more than 2,000-square-feet of empty land on 124th Street between Liberty and 101 Avenues into the Love, Life and Liberty Anti-Cancer Garden.

The garden would be a place for people to gather and remember loved ones who lost their battle with cancer or are currently living with the disease, Premlall said.

“People are going to be bringing a little bit of themselves there,” she said. “It will create a real sense of community.”

Individuals will be allowed to meditate or quietly gather in the garden, creating a relaxing atmosphere in the space. It will also allow for people facing a similar situation to openly discuss what they are going through. Premlall said even though some of that conversation may be unpleasant, it is important to have some level of dialogue to vocalize worries they may have.

The lot has been empty for more than 25 years and it would give Queens additional green space, she said.

The garden was inspired by artist Beatriz Da Costa, who created an Anti-Cancer Tool Kit space in Manhattan as well as a garden similar to what will be in Richmond Hill. Premlall said she was motivated to create an area like Da Costa’s project in her neighborhood.

She said they are still working with the Parks Dept. to officially transfer over the land. It is currently City-owned property, but she does not anticipate any problems in that process.

The scheduled launch for the garden is March 2014.

For more information or if you would like to help, log onto or email

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, or @luisgronda.