Archive | 11:14 pm

2010 Pumpkin Festival at the Central Park Bandshell

10 Nov

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Autumn is a great time to visit New York State. The weather is crisp and beautiful, there are so many activities to choose from, the summer crowds are gone, and the holiday crowds haven’t arrived – yet…

A lot of things happened already this season. Trees and flowers were planted and distributed. Leaves changed color.  People painted roofs white. Others got a workout from the inaugural Green City Challenge. Speaking of which, let’s not forget the NYC Marathon, which draws “more than 100,000 applicants annually.”

The most anticipated event to date (for me) was the Pumpkin Festival hosted by the New York City Parks Department in Central Park on Saturday, October 30th. In the environmental education “Green Zone,” a few other volunteers and I were tabling and distributing some composting information to hundreds of visitors, many of whom were brave enough to hold some worms in their hands – not an easy thing to ask from a stranger. To our left was the Parks Department’s GreenTeam, a dedicated group of New Yorkers pitching in to reduce the ecological footprint of public events in parks. And to our right was the Office of Recycling Outreach & Education (OROE), discussing the why’s and how’s of recycling lots of stuff.

Many other featured activities included a citywide Scarecrow Design Competition, the famous Pumpkin Patch, Greenmarket vendors, Marionette Performances by Puppets in the Park and other live entertainment, and of course the ghoulishly scary Circus Berzerkus Haunted House. Best of all, these activities were all FREE!

Oh wait, did I forget to mention that there was a giant pumpkin, which came from competitive pumpkin grower Andy Wolf near Buffalo, NY? Would you believe it was also my first time attending this annual fall harvest celebration? I mean, how could I have missed this after all these years!? Well, as it turns out, about 20,000-30,000 people showed up, so maybe it was their first time too, but one thing’s for sure, I’m definitely coming back!

Fall for the rest of New York State here, where you can identify leaves and apples, jaunt to a nearby pumpkin patch for picking (talk about a tongue twister), or embark on driving tours.

Stay tuned for my next entry on this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I’ll be clowning around, pun intended =D

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Greenest NYer joins NY4P’s Bulb Brigade!

10 Nov

On Sunday, October 24, I had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer bulb brigadier, helping New Yorkers For Parks (NY4P) distribute thousands of free daffodil bulbs from the Manhattan Union Square site to individuals and various community groups who commit to planting them in a park or public space. The daffodil bulbs suppliers include those from Hardscrabble Farm in North Salem, New York.

This was all part of their “Daffodil Project,” a living 9/11 Memorial and a citywide effort to beautify every neighborhood by planting daffodils. “Led by New Yorkers for Parks in cooperation with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, this annual volunteer effort serves as a living memorial for the victims, a symbol of remembrance, and an act of rebirth that involves citizens in the revitalization of their communities” (NY4P website). Each fall (for nearly a decade), NY4P distributes hundreds of thousands of daffodil bulbs to New Yorkers in all five boroughs. On another note, I used to survey city parks as an NY4P intern!

I look forward to volunteering again next spring when we clean up the blooming sites. In the meantime, I’ll be taking care of my 25 bulbs that were planted in street tree pits. Wish me luck!

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