NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Forest Park

The Daily Plant : Friday, April 30, 2004

GLIMPSES INTO POCKETS: Parks Commissioners Share Their Favorite Verse

Today among the wallets, keys, money clips, and pens, poems can be found in pockets of Parkies throughout the city to culminate the celebration of National Poetry Month. April 30 is Poem in Your Pocket Day, and New Yorkers are encouraged to carry a poem in their pocket and share it with friends, family, coworkers, and classmates. Deputy Commissioner for Management Robert Garafola carries the winning poem from an afterschool contest in honor of Earth Day. Both Bronx Borough Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and First Deputy Commissioner Liam Kavanagh were hip to April 30 also being Arbor Day and chose poems celebrating trees. Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe carries the poem that sparked his life-long love for literature when he was compelled to memorize it in the seventh grade. A friend gave Assistant Commissioner for Queens Parks Estelle Cooper a poem while she was ill; she carries this poem in her pocket every day.

Poem in Commissioner Garafola’s Pocket

"Earth Day," by Tolagbe Olatunbosm
(age 11 from Sorrentino Recreation Center)

What is the earth?
Is it big or round?
Does it weigh a pound?
Is it blue?
Is it true?
Is the earth nice?
Please give me advice!
Is the earth's grass green?
Well if it's not let's keep it clean.

Poem in Commissioner Lewandowski’s Pocket

"A London Plane-Tree," by Amy Levy

Green is the plane-tree in the square,
The other trees are brown;
They droop and pine for country air;
The plane-tree loves the town.

Here from my garret-pane, I mark
The plane-tree bud and blow,
Shed her recuperative bark,
And spread her shade below.

Among her branches, in and out,
The city breezes play;
The dun fog wraps her round about;
Above, the smoke curls grey.

Others the country take for choice,
And hold the town in scorn;
But she has listened to the voice
On city breezes borne.

Poem in Commissioner Kavanagh‘s Pocket

"Advice from a Tree," by Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend,

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

Poem in Commissioner Benepe's Pocket

Sonnet XXIX, by William Shakespeare

WHEN in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee,—and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Poem in Commissioner Cooper’s Pocket

"Each Day at Dawning," by Helen Steiner Rice

Each day at dawning
I lift my heart high
And raise up my eyes
to the infinite sky...

I watch the night vanish
as a new day is born,
And I hear the birds sing
on the wings of the morn...

And as I give thanks
I quietly pray—
"God keep me and guide me
and go with me today."

Compiled by Shelagh Patterson and
Dana Rubinstein


Parks & Recreation will recognize Arbor Day, April 30 with tree plantings in City parks throughout the five boroughs. From Crotona Park in the Bronx to Forest Park in Queens and Willowbrook Park on Staten Island, children and adults will plant trees such as Red Maple and American Beech to beautify their community. Parks & Recreation cares for over 2.5 million trees, and these trees can be found in parks and playgrounds, along sidewalks, and in traffic triangles in New York City.

Arbor Day events in New York City parks include: In Crotona Park in the Bronx, young children from Tremont Day Care Center will help Parks & Recreation plant trees supplied by the New York Tree Trust. In Forest Park in Queens, fourth-graders from P.S. 56 will plant American Chestnut Trees in the woods behind Jackson Pond. In Willowbrook Park on Staten Island, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro will join Parks Borough Commissioner Thomas Paulo, along with other officials, to plant a Black Tupelo by the Carousel.

Written by Jocelyn Aframe


"We can train ourselves to respect our feelings and to discipline (transpose) them into language that catches those feelings so they can be shared."

Audre Lorde, "Poems Are Not Luxuries"

Directions to Forest Park

Was this information helpful?