Before the garden
The Lower East Side (which once was considered to reach up to 14th street) was a bustling community that, through the years, housed the immigrant populations of NYC.
Now a melting pot of many different cultures; the neighborhood was once dominated by Irish, German, and Polish immigrants with a variety of religions and cultural backgrounds. Together, they worked to shape the East Village/Lower East Side. The great number of surviving former tenement apartment buildings (the survivors have almost all been renovated) are testament to these large population influxes.
Parque de Tranquilidad has a strong connection to this history - one third of it sits upon the former site of the Synagogue Chevra Bikur Cholim B'nai Israel Anshei Baranov (built in 1887), which collapsed during demolition of nearby damaged buildings during the economic plight of the 1970's.
Remaining pieces of the decorative facades of the three former buildings can be found throughout the garden.