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Flushing Meadows Corona Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, December 18, 2001

FLOWERS TO BLOOM BESIDE "LAVENDER LAKE"


Like the block associations, the artists, and the business people, Parks sees opportunity along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn—the opportunity to reflect a groundswell of neighborhood improvement with new green space. Four greenstreets within blocks of the canal are a part of the improvements getting started there. On Thursday, December 12, a crowd met at one of the four to water its plants.

The Gowanus Canal was once branded the Lavender Lake, but thanks to the hard work of Buddy (Saver) Scotto and others, today, oysters, fish, cormorants, and even a seal have been spotted swimming the canal. To expand on these changes, Parks is greening the streetscape.

The four Brooklyn greenstreets, designed and planted as a suite, are at varying stages of completion. All of them are planted with native species that echo the plants one might have found during the historic Battle of Brooklyn. They are the plants that might have died when the Lavender Lake was at its most purple. Goldenrod, New York Aster, Inkberry, and Chokecherry, will bloom there once again. The sites have been designed with seating areas and small pathways from which visitors may view activity on the canal and in the neighborhood. Triangular planting beds will echo those in nearby community gardens. Like those gardens, the planting beds may be filled with whatever vegetation the neighbors desire. Sweetgum trees will open and accent those already planted along the streets. In all the details of their design, Gail (Edelweiss) Wittwer Laird, Director of Greenstreets, and Greenstreet Designer Sara (Hyde) Cohen seek to express the history, the geography, and the present-day vitality of the neighborhood.

The four greenstreets are part of the citywide Greenstreets program. On the day of the greenstreet watering, Parks had planted 1,982. By year’s end, 2001 will have been planted. Stewards have adopted 239 of those greenstreets as well as 2,900 street trees. Four neighborhood groups, identified by the Development Corporation, have agreed to adopt these sites. Parks looks forward to partnering with Amtronics, Bona Fide Fuel and Oil Company, Inc., the Degraw Street Gardeners, and the Second Street Gardeners. Council Member Angel (El Coqui) Rodriguez made the work possible with a contribution of $272,000 in requirements contracts.

1,982 GREENSTREETS AND COUNTING...

On a quarter of an acre site on Francis Lewis Boulevard in Queens, Parks will plant a garden for all seasons. In the first days of March, Forsythia will bloom there. In the heat of summer, visitors will find Sand Cherries. In autumn, they’ll see ornamental grasses. Parks is planting three large evergreens that can be lit and celebrated for the winter holidays. The work will be completed with $20,000 of plant material donated by A&S Nursery and $85,000 in requirements contract money from the mayor. Requirements contracts are discretionary funds that allow us to make rapid, targeted improvements to sites around the city. In this case, they will enable Parks to complete a transformation from concrete to greenstreet. Work began in a ceremony on Saturday, December 15. State Senator Frank (Evergreen) Padavan; Council Member Michael (Wild Turkey) Abel; Council Member-elect Anthony (Golden Eagle) Avella; Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern; Rich (Ricardo) Murphy, Queens Borough Commissioner; Estelle (Unisphere) Cooper, Assistant Commissioner; Ed (Labrador) Lewis, Assistant Commissioner for Queens Parks; Bram (Dogwood) Gunther, Deputy Director of Central Forestry; and Antoinette, Salvatore, and Angelo Graci, Owners of A&S Nursery were among the honored guests in attendance.

Wherever possible, Parks strives to plant greenstreets with hardy plants that can survive the New York climate and native plants that recall the natural history of the neighborhood. The neighborhood of Whitestone, where the new greenstreet lies, was founded by Dutch farmers in 1645. They named the area for a large white boulder that broke the tides along the shore. The Dutch purchased the land from the Matinecock Native Americans at the price of one ax per fifty acres. In 1735, the discovery of clay deposits stimulated the widespread growth of pottery manufacturing. In the mid-nineteenth century, the discovery of a hot spring in the neighborhood brought the area notoriety as a place of healing for anemics. During this period, New Yorkers referred to the town as Iron Springs. Parks seeks to distinguish Whitestone by its natural features once again; hopefully, the greenstreet on Fort Lewis Boulevard will spur further greening in the near future.

Learn more about the Greenstreets program.

THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Tuesday, December 27, 1988)

THE GREATEST "ASTORIA" EVER TOLD:
MAYOR OFFERS QUEENS HOLIDAY GIFT

The new steel climbing equipment in Queens’ Astoria Park Playground could not exactly have fit under most holiday trees—unless we’re talking about a giant redwood. But that didn’t stop Parks "elves" from lovingly wrapping it in a huge package with a large, green velvet bow. Mayor Koch and other officials offered it as a special holiday "gift" to the city the Thursday before Christmas.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"The god delights in an odd number."

Virgil (70-19 B.C.)

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