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Date posted:03-8-02

Pea in the Pod

by Nkrumah Tinsley
Photos by Charles Chavis


On the 10th of November 2001, Charles Chavis and I covered the planting of daffodils at Jackie Robinson Park. Jackie Robinson was just one of many sites at which 7,300 volunteers will plant 1.4 million bulbs that will take part in this salute to those lost during the terrorist attacks of September 11th. There were a variety of groups that came from New York City to participate.A total of 1.4 million daffodills are going to be visible all over the city when they bloom in the spring.

When I arrived at the park, my first impression was that this was going to be nothing more than another corny post-tragedy gathering where people came for the purpose of recieving a pat on the back. However, as I completed more and more interviews, I came to the realization that most, if not all, of the day's participants came with the best of intentions. The first person that I interviewed was gardener Linden Miller, a member of the parks council, as well as Parks 2001 (an organization of people who care about New York City's parks). In her words, "the daffodils represent that New York City will bloom again." Mrs. Miller received one million daffodil bulbs from Hans Finwarenburgh in London. Asked of her initial response to the 9-11 attacks, she responded by saying "when I saw the planes hit the buildings, I thought to myself, 'oh New York... my poor New York. ' "

Probably the most noticable interviewee at the site was Parks Commisioner Henry Stern. Commisioner Stern often goes by the code name of "Star Quest". I also got a chance to meet "Boomer", his pet golden retriever. Through the course of the interview, I was informed that this upcoming month of march will be called, "The Million Daffodil March", in anticipation of the blooming. The commisioner thanked former mayor Rudolph Giuliani for making the parks much safer.

Among the groups that were there were F.Y.I , a youth group in which the kids involved in the program help in improving the quality of life in and around the city. Also at the planting were a couple of police officers from nearby precincts and about 150 staff members and students from Columbia University who made a short but important journey to the park to partake in the event. Student Jill Reese stated, "the planting of the bulbs lets the world, as well as the terrorists, know that the spirit of New York is immortal, and that they [the terrorists] can't stop New York from functioning."


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