Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall in Brooklyn and what price, a park?

An afternoon stroll down Atlantic Avenue towards the water of the harbor took us to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, starting at Pier Six, and heading north. Amelanchiers are bleeding into orange, above.

My friends, the birds. These are siskins, utterly unafraid. Loading up on the fluffy seeds of...grassleafed goldenrod? Euthamia graminifolia? I think.

Sumac turning brilliant.

And Virginia creeper, up on the Promenade.

We have been excited to see the pedestals for a pedestrian footbridge take shape, to carry people up from the water-level park to the elevated Promenade. I can't count the number of perplexed tourists to whom we have given convoluted directions, when they ask how to get "up there."

Suddenly some steep berms had materialised, flanking the steps leading to the beginning of the unfinished bridge-supports. Crosshatched with irrigation lines and complete with quart pots of interesting-looking perennials. I hope there will not be a downpour within the next few months, to wash it all away.

Someone has a lot of planting to do. Tricky. Where to stand?

I have seen this park materialize from nothing - concrete wharfs, barren jetties, wasted waterfront. Most of the funding is private and I still have very mixed and conflicting feelings about this. Certainly, without private investment, this would not have happened.

And today, the Central Park Conservancy, also relying on private funds (yet it is the heart of Manhattan but not apparently, the city's responsibility) received a gift of $100,000,000 (count the noughts), from John Paulson, who has fond memories of being pushed through it in a stroller, as baby. Lucky Central Park. And thank you, Mr. Paulson.

I could not help wincing on behalf of Prospect Park, designed by the same, famous Olmstead/Vaux duo. Prospect Park, unlike its Manhattan yin,  has far poorer neighbours, and just one wealthy border, in the west. Prospect Park is Brooklyn's green heart and still resembles a ragged war zone on its eastern edges. The western part looks just fine. Funny, that. It needs money. The City sure as hell doesn't give a damn.

Perhaps Mr Paulson forgot about the spare $50,000,000 in his sock drawer.

Pretty please?


  1. I must come back to Brooklyn.Without 4' of snow next time.Damned anorexic pig!

  2. The Amelanchier, sumac, and Virginia creeper look fantastic!

    I just discovered your blog. What a great title. :) I'm not a city person, but it is great to see you appreciating (and blogging about) nature. I always thought, no matter how small the yard, I'd make it beautiful and natural. You seem to be making the most of it...and I just had to say so.

    Great photos...and, it looks like some great recipes sprinkled in...gotta explore more. :)

  3. Imagine be able to give away a hundred million dollars. Our parks are now the incandescence of the 1%.

    I say this in the least political manner possible.

  4. It must be lovely to find all these signs of autumn in the middle of a city - the colours are so heart-warming - a final flourish before they fall.

  5. love the Amelanchiers' autumn brilliance (a pun) and have been taken with the "ombre" look in the sumac in my area: gradating from orange to red. Really spectacular. We have the same issue in my town: parks and schools receive more funding in certain areas than others. Thanks for talking about this issue: an important conversation everywhere.


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