Earth Celebrations' 15th Annual Rites of Spring: Procession to Save Our Gardens Saturday at 10 a.m.
Begins on Forsyth Street between
Broome and Delancey streets
"Coming soon, luxury housing." This phrase, now as ubiquitous on East Village walls as graffiti once was, heralds a less obvious, though still pernicious, type of decay. Just as Dutch elm disease decimated New York City's tree population, the unmitigated spread of condo towers and high-rent megaplexes threatens the slivers of urban space that residents have been able to coax a little green out of. For certain trees, Dutch elm disease means certain death. But for community gardens, activism and high-visibility events like this parade have meant city-sponsored preservation from greedy developers. Nearly 5,000 performers and artists will take part in this year's procession, which organizers call New York City's longest parade. They'll wind through the Lower East Side and East Village for eight hours, stopping at gardens and adding revelers along the way. Come out to savor spring with the best of L.E.S. talent: marching bands, opera singers, poets, dancers, puppeteers, and actors, who will perform the saga of earth goddess Gaia. Or just join up to rage against the developocracyeither way, the gardens win.