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Van Cortlandt Park

The Daily Plant : Wednesday, April 9, 2003

SPRING FLOWERS HINT AT SUNNIER DAYS TO COME


Don't let the skies fool you-spring is here and to prove it, there are dozens of determined flowers blooming all over the city. This year, Parks & Recreation is marking this annual spring phenomenon with an on-line "blooming guide," called "Parks in Bloom 2003." The guide provides New Yorkers with a list of locations of blooming flowers, shrubs, and trees in every borough. Nature-lovers can consult this resource to plan the most horticulturally interesting walks possible, while nature novices can use it to impress their friends with their sudden ability to distinguish between flowering dogwood and cherry trees.

The new blooming guide underscores Parks & Recreation Commissioner Benepe's horticultural goals for the agency. Benepe aims to make New York, "flower city" and with continuing help from numerous corporations, non-profit organizations, community groups, and citizen volunteers, it looks like New York will secure the title any day. Already, more flowers will bloom in New York's parks and gardens than ever before. And, as a quick read of the on-line guide confirms, New Yorkers can stroll through any park this time of year and encounter a huge variety of spring blooms.

In Brooklyn, for example, azalea and forsythia bushes, red buds and tulips decorate the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Horticultural enthusiasts can also head to the Narrows Botanical Gardens, and take in daffodils, forsythia and tulips. And at Borough Hall, the cherry blossoms are just starting to come out in full force. In the Bronx, some of the best blooms are found in Van Cortlandt Park. The 1,146 acre park is crowded with flowers this time of year, including marigolds, daffodils, cherry, dogwood, and Red maple tree blossoms. There are also a variety of flowering trees at the entrance to Pelham Parkway (Boston Road to Stillwell Avenue), while Crotona Park is home to fields of daffodils and white flowering pear trees. Daffodils can be seen all over Manhattan-throughout Central Park, Saint Nicholas Park at 135th Street and East River Park on the Lower East Side. Of course, the Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park is the premier Manhattan destination to take in breathtaking blooms. Daffodils, tulips, columbine, Jacob's ladder, Lily of Valley, hyacinths, pansies, and ipheion, an unusual blue flower from South America, are just are few of the flowers that are blossoming in the Heather Garden's lavish garden beds. Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park is known for its pink cherry blossoms. The cherry trees also compete with the white flowering pear trees, and gold forsythia bushes. Also in Queens, Cunningham Park is famous for its tulips and Forest Park for its forsythia. On Staten Island, Silver Lake Park and Clove Lakes Park are crowded with cherry blossoms, crabapples, daffodils, forsythia, and tulips. Silver Lake Park also boasts flowering pear trees, while Clove Lakes park is home to star magnolia trees.

In addition to the floral displays described above, there are also thousands and thousands of daffodils in every borough, planted almost entirely by volunteers, as part of the "Daffodil Project" in partnership with New Yorkers for Parks. Planted in the wake of September 11th, as a living memorial of hope, it's especially uplifting to see the daffodils in this dreary weather-they are a reminder that sunnier days are ahead.

ANSWER KEY TO PARKS MINI QUIZ

Hope you enjoyed yesterday's Parks & Recreation mini quiz. Below are the answers with brief explanations.

1. (C) - According to Parks & Recreation's Planning Division, the agency has a total of 1,726 parcels or parks and playgrounds.
2. (C) - The Historic House Trust preserves and promotes 22 historic houses, however only 20 of these houses are open to the public.
3. (D) - Seward Park, the nation's first municipally built playground, opened on October 17, 1903. The city acquired the land for Seward Park by condemnation in 1897. In addition to the state-of-the-art playground, the 1903 plan featured a large track with an open play area and a farm garden for children.
4. (D) - Each summer, 1.4 million gallons of water are used to fill Astoria Pool in Astoria Park, Queens.
5. (C) - Starburst Jelly Beans is the lead sponsor of Central Park's 57th Annual Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 19. Newmark Real Estate was the main sponsor of the Great Halloween Party in the fall while Hormel Deli was the lead sponsor of Parks & Recreation's Winter Festival 2003.
6. (A) - Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse - "Little Red Lighthouse" is the only lighthouse under the jurisdiction of Parks & Recreation. "Little Red" became Parks property in 1951. The lighthouse was originally erected in Sandy Hook, NJ in 1880, and was moved to its present location in 1921. The lighthouse improved navigation on the Hudson until it was officially decommissioned in 1947. The Coast Guard intended to destroy the lighthouse until Parks & Recreation took over the historic structure.
7. (A) - The total acreage to date of City parkland is 28,634 acres.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"Flowers are lovely; love is flower-lie;
Friendship is a sheltering tree."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772-1834)

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Van Cortlandt Park Weather

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