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Recreational Area

The Daily Plant : Thursday, January 30, 2003

LOWER MANHATTAN RETURNS TO ITS ROOTS


The Dutch—who first arrived in 1625—have landed once again on the southern tip of Manhattan…well, at least one of them. This May, the internationally-renowned Dutch horticulturist and landscape designer Piet Oudolf will bring his unique gardening skills to The Battery, with 10,000 square feet of perennial plantings, flowers and passages. The splendidly colorful and fragrant area will be known as the Gardens of Remembrance and will honor all those who perished on September 11, 2001. Last week at the Arsenal, Parks & Recreation kicked off its first Uncommon Ground lecture series as Oudolf presented his plans and past work to a packed house of nearly 200 guests. Joined by Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, The Battery Conservancy President Warrie Price, and representatives from the office of the Netherlands Consulate General, Oudolf offered nearly 200 slide images to a captive audience that braved the freezing weather to attend.

"We are excited to welcome the work of Piet Oudolf to such a prominent City park and are grateful for the efforts of Warrie Price and The Battery Conservancy to bring Mr. Oudolf here," said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "The Gardens of Remembrance will provide a place for reflection for New Yorkers and visitors, and will be an important contribution to the many innovative gardens, landscapes, and groves being developed in parks across the city."

Oudolf, whose work is based in the small Netherlands town of Hummelo, will bring a fresh perspective to the bustling City park, which receives over 4 million visitors and 14 million commuters each year. Speaking publicly for the first time ever on the east coast, he presented his plans and answered questions from audience members. Among the issues addressed, Oudolf explained that in planting the Gardens of Remembrance, he will employ both native and non-native plant species. According to the gardener, such a variety will bring brilliant colors and smells to the park and promote contemplation and relaxation. Because he will use perennials, Oudolf’s plantings will dazzle visitors every season year after year.

"We are following in the great footsteps of the City’s flagship parks which have worked hard to create wonderful plantings," said Warrie Price. "With Oudolf’s commission and the many other developments we plan to announce in coming months and years, The Battery will once again help to inspire and catalyze a renaissance in Lower Manhattan."

"I am honored to accept this important commission from The Battery Conservancy and to contribute to the future of such a remarkable and meaningful place," said Oudolf. "My work is devoted to the ever-evolving relationship between people and nature, and Lower Manhattan presents an extraordinary opportunity to further explore and pay tribute to that relationship at the beginning of a new century."

The Gardens of Remembrance and the horticultural master plan for The Battery are made possible by a $400, 000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and a $1 million grant from the Verizon Foundation to establish an endowment fund for the gardens. The Battery Conservancy has launched a campaign to raise an additional $3 million required to fully endow the Gardens of Remembrance. The evening’s lecture was also made possible by the Consulate General of the Netherlands.

TWO PARKS EMPLOYEES STOP CRIME IN RIVERSIDE PARK

Last week, on Tuesday, January 14, Jeff Speich, SPMO, and Curtis Peterson, CPW, caught a thief in Riverside Park. Speich and Peterson found the man, late in the afternoon in the 79th Street garage. It was the end of a long day’s work and the two men had decided to stop by the garage. Upon entering the building, they saw something peculiar: "We walked into the garage and saw a person—not a Parks employee—taking supplies and putting them into his vehicle," said Speich. Peterson and Speich confronted the man, and he immediately admitted to stealing grass seed and mulch from the garage. Parks Enforcement and NYPD were called and the man was arrested.

Riverside Park Administrator KC Sahl said he was proud of Speich and Peterson. "They caught that man after hours, during their volunteer hours. They saved the Park money and made it a safer place." Speich was less impressed with himself: "It was simple situation. No bravery involved."

Sahl and Speich said they are looking for ways to improve security at Riverside’s 79th Street garage.

Written by Hannah Gersen

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY

"The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.

Let us move forward with strong and active faith."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

(January 30, 1882–1945)

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