STRAWBERRY FIELDS: FOREVER A MEMORIAL
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Beatles fans can always find each other at Strawberry Fields. They were together in especially large numbers on November 30, 2001 to mourn the death of star guitarist, George Harrison. Within hours of Harrison’s death on Thursday, November 29, fan congregated in the open space with guitars and British flags in hand and golden oldies on their lips. Strawberry Fields is special to Parks not only because it is parkland. In 1981, it was Council Member Henry J. Stern who introduced the legislation that named the land in memorial to John Lennon. Two years later Council Member Stern became Parks Commissioner Stern, and assumed responsibility for the memorial. Strawberry Fields is yards from the Dakota building where John Lennon was shot on December 8, 1980. It sees its largest crowds each year on the anniversary of Lennon’s death. Commissioner Stern and Yoko Ono dedicated Strawberry Fields on October 9th, 1985, after a restoration of the land. Ono ran an advertisement in the New York Times soliciting gifts of rocks and plants from around the world. The final design for the field incorporated 161 varieties of plants and trees and a marble mosaic, donated by the City of Naples, impressed with the word "Imagine."
IN A FLASH CONCRETE BECOMES GREENSTREET
The City’s 1,890th greenstreet was designed and constructed in record time. Work started on October 18, and sixteen days later the job was complete. The greenstreet, located in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn, was celebrated with a ceremonial watering on Tuesday, December 4. With $105,000 in requirements contracts from Council Member Herbert (Merlin) Berman, Brad (Straight) Romaker designed a traffic triangle to be planted with vibernum and London planetrees, and furnished with a winding path and seating areas. It is one of the 100 greenstreets handled by Parks’ Requirements Contracts division each year. Requirements Contracts designs and constructs greenstreets sites with the most hardscape. At this property they reworked a slab of asphalt into a miniature park, and they did so within just six months of Fiscal Year 2002 becoming available. Congratulations to everyone involved in this speedy turnaround.
By Jill (Volpe) Gallant
STARQUEST, MASTER OF THE HOUSE
The National Society of Colonial Dames, a preservation organization 110 years old, presented Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern with a unique award on the evening of Wednesday, December 5; they named him "Patroon of Van Cortlandt." Patroon is an old Dutch word for patron, and Commissioner Stern is the first person to receive the honorary title in recognition of his cooperation with the Society. The Van Cortlandt Historic House Museum is one of 87 historic sites across the country affiliated with the National Society of Colonial Dames. It is also the first house the Society adopted. This winter, Parks and the National Society of Colonial Dames will work together to stabilize and restore the house’s dining room.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO IN THE PLANT
(Monday, December 19, 1988)
HISTORIC HOUSES TRUST RECEIVESGRANT FROM J.M. KAPLAN FUND
The J.M. Kaplan Fund has awarded $20,000 to the Historic House Trust of New York City, a not-for-profit organization helping Parks restore and interpret 14 historic house museums on parkland. The grant will be used to publish the first edition of Historic Houses in New York City Parks, a 36-page guidebook to Parks houses. "The J.M. Kaplan Fund helped to get the Central Park Conservancy, the Prospect Park Alliance and the Gracie Mansion Conservancy off the ground," said Commissioner Stern. "We hope this generous gift will give the Trust a similar boost."
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Here comes the sun, And I say, it’s alright." George Harrison (1943-2001)