The Daily Plant : Monday, November 25, 2002
DUTCH PLANT FRESHLY CULTIVATED "MANHATTAN" TULIP
Even Old New York was once New Amsterdam," sing They Might Be Giants in their revival of the 1953 show tune "Istanbul" written by Kennedy and Simon. A lot has changed to this city since then—the invention of the egg cream, the subway system, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to name a few.
On Thursday, November 14, the spirit of New Amsterdam was born anew when Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce Chairman Jan Flinterman, and The Netherlands Club of New York President Jippe Hiemstra, and Dutch Consul General Bob Hiensch met in Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Square to plant 5,000 Dutch tulip bulbs. The tulips, a newly-cultivated breed nicknamed the "Manhattan" tulip, were planted to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the two Dutch organizations. Next spring, the bright orange petals will electrify the north end of the park.
Standing in front of the famous Peter Stuyvesant statue, Commissioner Adrian Benepe offered a short lesson in Dutch. "We owe a lot of words to the Dutch," he said. "Across the street, you’ll see that the building on the corner has a ‘stoop.’ If you want to hit the Hudson River, you can board a ‘sloop.’ Or, if you want to ride more in a more fancy vessel, you can take a ‘yacht.’"
After exchanging praise for positive New York-Netherlands relations, the officials joined a troop of young Dutch musicians, (in town for a recital at Carnegie Hall) who didn’t lend treat us with their musical gifts, but did lend a hand to plant the bulbs in the park. Acclaimed Parks Gardener Constance Casey led the bulb-planting team. Holes were dug roughly six inches deep and six inches apart, and everyone participating made certain to place the bulbs facing upward. According Casey, the bulbs require several sustained days of sub-freezing temperatures in order to activate and grow next spring. She also noted that tulips are special because of their ability to grow upwards even if their bulbs are planted upside-down.
Stuyvesant Square is named for Peter Stuyvesant, the last governor-general of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, as well as for his descendant Peter Gerard Stuyvesant, who donated the land that is now Stuyvesant Square to the City for parkland in the early 19th century. The park was originally to be called Holland Square, and it remained vacant until a 1839 lawsuit by Peter Gerard Stuyvesant encouraged the development of the land. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s statue of Peter Stuyvesant, depicted with his wooden prosthetic limb, was unveiled in 1941.
The cultivation and donation of these tulips was a joint effort of the International Bulb Company, The Netherlands American Community Trust, and the Netherlands/America Foundation. This latest bulb donation reflects the Netherlands’ huge flower economy (the country exports millions of bulbs every year) and the country’s close relations with New York and the United States. In the last year, various Dutch cities and various organizations have donated daffodils to be planted in parks throughout the five boroughs in memory of victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. With flowers from The Netherlands blooming all across the city next spring, New Yorkers will once again be reminded of the city’s strong Dutch "roots."
Written By Eric Adolfsen
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Monday, December 4, 1989)
QUEENS PARKIES BID FAREWELL TO THEIR CHEIF
Queens Park Commissioner William H. Cook received a grand farewell from the more than 60 parkies who stood uniformed under a green and white Parks tent in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on November 21 for Cook’s final staff meeting and inspection.
"Commissioner Cook is a first-rate public servant and he did a terrific job," said Commissioner Stern. "He’s honest and fearless, one of the strongest borough commissioners we’ve ever had."
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"A ball player’s got to be kept hungry to become a big leaguer.
That’s why no boy from a rich family ever made the big leagues."
(b. November 25, 1914-1999)