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
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. ' "
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."