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Archive for the ‘Plants elsewhere in NYC’ Category

trashintree

Speaking of “urban tumbleweeds,” a.k.a. plastic bags and other trash blown through the city, I began to notice back in early spring just how many street trees have some kind of trash caught in them. It’s probably not so apparent now that the trees have grown their full summer coat of foliage, but back then the number was astonishing. Nearly every tree I passed had some kind of plastic bag, ragged rag, bit of orange construction mesh, or other scrap adorning its bare branches, as if this were some kind of fashion trend for trees.

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tumbleweed_by_phoebe

Today’s photo comes courtesy of reader and sister Phoebe, who writes from California: “In a town covered in pavement, aka Redwood City, the origins of this 4 foot wide tumbleweed is a mystery.” (more…)

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Grand_Concourse_looking_north_from_161st_Street
Photo courtesy Katie Holten on treemuseum.ning.com

Folks, I cannot tell you how excited I was to discover that a tree museum is opening June 21 along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx! 100 trees along the historic boulevard will each be linked to an audio excerpt (via a number you call on your phone) containing the voice of an individual talking about life in the Bronx.

This public art project was created by Katie Holten to celebrate the centennial of the Concourse, which she realized should incorporate the trees as much as the neighbors. I like that she pointed out that “the Concourse has always been tree-lined, even before it was paved.” in the New York Times article about this piece. Follow the link to the article for sample audio clips.

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Portrait of parks commissioner Adrian Benepe courtesy NY Times

I liked today’s New York Times portrait of Adrian Benepe, the Parks and Recreation Commissioner for all of New York City. The piece focuses a lot on how he relates to the parks outside of work, reminding me of my asking park maintenance workers in Berlin whether they still visit the parks in their personal time.

It sounds like Mr. Benepe loves the parks to bits, but that for him, the line between being in the parks as a private citizen and as a professional is more than blurry. (more…)

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Another note related to Earth Day and environmentalism: vertical farming! Farms may soon exist in the middle of Manhattan in the shape of skyscrapers. Watch the intriguing video on YouTube from Discovery-News.com:



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snowynightscape

I must preface this post with an apology for uploading monochromatic, thick-of-winter photographs when it is clearly now spring. Spring! The city is bursting with new leaves and flowers which I have been excitedly documenting. But for now, I will use the excuse that it snowed last week – a brief, desperate flurry – to share some winter urban landscapes before moving on to spring.

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Photo of tree installation in subway station.

There will be trees in the subway in Lower Manhattan, reported the New York Times today. Artists (and twin brothers) Mike and Doug Starn are completing an installation in the New South Ferry Terminal, which is being built below the existing South Ferry Terminal. (more…)

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Just a small post to share a sweet plant-related slideshow from the New York Times. Their dear old roving people-photographer and clothes-fan Bill Cunningham, who creates the Sunday Style’s “Man on the Street” column every week, was in Central Park this week. He was supposed to be looking at winter coats, but kept getting distracted by the autumn leaves. I loved his narration about the urge that people have to gather leaves in their arms and throw them up in the air. 

Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/11/15/fashion/20081115-street-feature/index.html

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An email conversation between myself and my good friend Bikram, who spends 3 out of 4 weeks in London on business, who keeps an online journal capturing offbeat and often amusing observations culled from his everyday adventures, who is a fan of Urban Plant Research, and who was excited to share a photograph he had recently taken:

“I was crossing the Thames on the newish Golden Jubilee walkway, which runs alongside some railway tracks. A completely industrial and metal construction, except for…”

“i really like this picture, Bikram – how the bit of green undermines the cold, gray industrial world surrounding it. it’s also strangely comical in some way – reminds me of facial or body hair, as if nature were drawing a moustache on the bridge!

“and… ha, now you’re starting to see weeds everywhere too!”

“I do feel kind of attuned to plants in the city, now, as a result of our talks and keeping up with your site. On my walk I was actually thinking more about the big, planned, perfectly arranged gardens on either side of the river – I could see one on the far bank, by the London Eye, and I remember that the one by the tower of London is particularly meticulous. I guess that’s one theme that you guys are dealing with a lot – planned versus unplanned, official versus outlaw. I do like these wee upcroppings that are completely unexpected. I’ll keep my eye out for more.”

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