The numbers of those vaccinated are increasing and warmish weather offers safer outdoor social conditions, so for New Yorkers who live in the confines of apartments almost bear-like in their caves, this spring brings an awakening.
Hunkered down, quarantined, socially distanced, it’s been as if a long—a year-long—hibernation.
This past weekend city denizens eagerly took to New York parks as early blossoms beckon and with yet many plants soon to bloom. The parks truly embody that spring is here.
Spring Park Cleaning, an initiative from Corey Johnson’s office with support from Parks and Sanitation, encouraged New Yorkers to help with planting and sprucing up local playgrounds and parks.
To this end, more than a dozen volunteers showed up at Soho’s Vesuvio Playground to dig in and feel a bit of nature.
On their knees, hands in the square lot of dirt under the flagpole, these weekend gardeners planted flats of perennials: Anchillea—“Summer Berries” and “Little Susie”, Coreopsis— “Double Sun” and “Angelina”, and the Sedum creeping ground cover.
Thompson Street neighbor Linda Gross read about the volunteer afternoon effort in the Nextdoor blog, others were informed by Corey Johnson’s newsletter. An enthusiastic mother/daughter team lives on Sullivan Street and one woman came from East Village to get her hands dirty.
Parks Department gardener Tyson Landers who works out of Washington Square Park and the neighborhood’s 12-15 satellite gardens is forever grateful for the volunteers’ efforts. “I’d spend a whole day doing (these plantings),” he says. “I wish there were more of these volunteer days.”
Also, the playground’s picnic tables and benches received new coats of Parks Department green paint—a ubiquitous “wet paint” sign warding off the public.
Meanwhile not too far away, at 6th Ave. and Prince St., a smaller and more local team tidied up the triangle beauty Father Fagan Park.
Al Di Raffaele’s apartment across 6th Ave. overlooks the Park. In a neighborhood with a dearth of greenery, along with others equally committed, he’s taken a very personal involvement in this triangle of vegetation.
“My love for Father Fagan Square Park started years ago when I learned about the man himself and had the sign created stating his life story,” says Di Raffaele. “I cleaned the park with my neighbors,” he proudly says.
Across 6th Ave., more neighbors and far-flung volunteers, one from Greenpoint, another from Boerum Hill, raked, pruned and spruced up, the sliver garden that is Charleton Plaza.
Sunday also invited those who just sought the diversion and pleasure of visiting other local parks and gardens, including Jefferson Market Garden.
Enjoying the colors, walking, reading, painting, and even hearing music made up the breadth of activities enjoyed as New Yorkers emerge from the long dormancy.
For those seeking a larger venue, Brooklyn Botanical Garden provides more roaming spaces; their Spring program of outdoor blossoms and performances attracts a following. Be aware! To keep the numbers in the Garden at a socially distanced limitation, early advance tickets and reservations are required to enjoy the great beauty of what the Garden offers the public.
The time is now to still carefully come out of our caves.