Langer’s Deli Helps Save the Urban Fruit Trail

Norm Langer will fund replanting efforts after vandals damaged the Lafayette Park project

The saga of L.A.’s Urban Fruit Trail continues. As we reported yesterday, the path of stone fruit and citrus trees planted by children enrolled in the Heart of Los Angeles youth program was severely vandalized Monday night. ““Everyone is devastated,” said HOLA publicist Lee Schube.

Well, buck up and open wide, everyone. Moved by the group’s plight, Norm Langer of MacArthur Park pastrami landmark Langer’s Deli has stepped in to help fund the replanting project.

“That someone would destroy this kind of thing is absolutely beyond my comprehension,” says the man behind the famed #19 sandwich. “Not only am I going to fund the replanting, but I’m going to feed all the kids when they come out to work on Wednesday.”

The Los Angeles Times first wrote about the project, a collaboration between the youth outreach group and artists Austin Young and David Burns of the Fallen Fruit project. All but a few of the 28 trees that were planted as of Monday were damaged, and while Langer declined to name a figure, he says his donation will at the least replace what was lost.

“The park is something I grew up in—my mother used to take naps there in the afternoon,” says Langer. “The Heart of Los Angeles kids are working to make the space green and inviting so that families can return. This is something I can do to help the heart of the community, and I would challenge other business owners to do the same for theirs.” 

As for what exactly the kids will be treated to on Wednesday, it won’t necessarily be the deli’s signature meat. “I heard a few of the kids are vegan,” says Langer. “I haven’t perfected vegan pastrami.”