In 1999 Mary Rudolph Giuliani chose to put 110 of New York City's community gardens, which had sprung up on vacant and derelict lots, on the auction block to the highest bidder. These gardens served as community hubs, after school programs, and functioning gardens where people raised real food and bees over the course of 20 and more years.
After repeated pleas and legal finagling, the gardens were still set to be so. On the 11th hour, many community groups came together to organize a grand protest where one block of Avenue A was seized while the band played and children enjoyed the playground equipment created from police barricades. This defiant gesture was designed to bring the media into the cause of preserving the gardens, and on the 11 o'clock news that evening Bette Midler saw the action, became involved, and partnered with the Trust for Public Lands to secure forever as green space the 110 gardens.