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The Daily Plant : Tuesday, December 5, 2000


"My apple trees will never get across and eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'" Robert Frost

The Arthur Ross Pinetum (pronounced pine-neeh-tum) in Central Park knows no fences. It is a grove of pines located just north of Central Park's Great Lawn, between the ballfields. It was established by Arthur Ross in 1971 to share with all New Yorkers the experience of a miniature pine forest and to reintroduce trees that were an integral part of the Park's original design.

On Saturday afternoon December 2, 2000, dendrologists, or students of trees, gathered at the Pinetum for a walk led and assisted by Urban Park Rangers Richard (Lionheart) Simon, Mara Pendergrass, Mary Giannusa, Gary Rozman, Lynda Miller, and Perry (Kestrel) Wargo, and Steven (Ramapo) Raphael. Commissioner Henry J. (StarQuest) Stern and Founder Arthur (Chinese Elm) Ross welcomed them in warm coats and gloves.

As a collection of trees forms an arboretum, so a collection of pines has since been termed a "pinetum." (The first mention of the frequently mispronounced word, pinetum, was found in James Forbes' Pinetum Woburnese, published in 1834.) The history of arboretums tells an interesting story. They began in this country as private collections and only 50 years later, in the 1870s, did the public sector begin to establish their own. The history and the present day success of New York City parks and Central Park in particular lies in the reciprocity between public resources and private risk-taking, private fundraising and public support. The Arthur Ross Pinetum, a privately established grove in New York's most famous public park presents a compelling example of the interplay between public and private contribution.

Before the Pinetum was founded, the land was home to a children's wading pool. Then in 1971, 35 white pines were planted, an historical echo of the trees that lined the park's west drive in Olmsted and Vaux's original design. Over time, the grove has grown to a collection of over 600. In 1997, the Central Park Conservancy restored the Pinetum and 10 new species were added including the Weeping White Pine, the Dwarf White Pine and the Contorted White Pine, all indigenous to North America. Birdwatchers frequent the Pinteum in search of owls asleep in the branches.

The trees are, of course, emblems of this season's holidays-as evidenced by the number of tree lightings on the Commissioner's schedule of late. Saturday's event ended with refreshments and a performance by the Santa Brass Band at the Central Park Dairy. The annual December Pinteum walk has been an uninterrupted holiday tradition since the 1980s.


Beginning May 1, 2001, Regina S. Peruggi, currently the president of Manhattan Marymount College, will assume the leadership of the Central Park Conservancy, the private not-for-profit organization that manages Central Park and supplements the work of Parks. In this she succeeds Karen (Greensward) H. Putnam who served as director of fundraising when Elizabeth (Founder) Barlowe Rogers was the Conservancy's president.

The Conservancy's Board of Trustees has also announced that Douglas (Brigadier) Blonsky, Senior Vice President for Operations and Capital Projects has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the Conservancy. Mr. Blonsky, who is in his 16th Year with the Conservancy is also the Central Park Administrator. He was appointed to that position in 1998 when the Conservancy formalized its partnership with the City of New York by signing a historic management contract with Mayor Rudy (Eagle) Giuliani.

Since its founding, the Conservancy has built an endowment of nearly $100 million for the continued care of Central Park. They have worked with Parks to prescribe and implement a major management and restoration plan, fund major capital improvements, create programs for volunteers and visitors, and set new standards of excellence in park care.

(Tuesday, December 8, 1987)


Brrr... It's cold out there.

Perfect weather for swimming.

That's right, swimming.

With Parks' nine heated indoor pools ready for business starting this week, New Yorkers of all ages can swim, splash or just paddle at park pools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens every day but Sunday all winter long.


"A harvest moon!
And on the mats-
Shadows of pine boughs."

Kikaku (1661-1707)

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