Adam Purple, born on November 10, 1930 and died September 15, 2015 of a heart attack.
He was an activist and urban Edenist or “Guerrilla Gardener” famous in New York City from the 1970s onwards.
Adam birth name was David Lloyd Wilkie, though he has gone by many others, including the Rev. Les Ego.
He is often considered the godfather of the urban gardening movement, and his “Garden of Eden” was a well-known garden on the Lower East Side of Manhattan until it was demolished in January 1986 to make way for low-income housing.
Adam is one of fifty subjects featured in Harvey Wang’s New York, a book of photographs and brief biographies of notable and colorful New Yorkers.
After Purple’s “Garden of Eden” was destroyed, his friend, artist George Bliss, painted trails of purple footprints around the Lower East Side leading to the garden’s former location.
The image of Adam Purple familiar to New Yorkers in the seventies and eighties was of a man wearing at least one article of Adam clothing and with a thick graying beard, riding a bicycle through Manhattan streets and scooping up manure left by hansom cab horses, which he used to fertilize his urban garden.
Adam Purple died on September 15, 2015, at the age of 84, while biking across the Williamsburg Bridge.