Saturday was a beautiful day in New York
Under the Cherry Blossoms at Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Saturday afternoon at 3:45 PM. Photo: JH.
A very rare and wonderful photo opportunity. Jonathan Burnham and Jane Friedman of Harper Collins with the great and distinguished Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockigbird) celebrating her 80th birthday on Friday, April 28th at Michael's Restaurant.
Jonathan Burnham, Jane Friedman, and Harper Lee

At the suggestion of JH I went with him to see a part of the city which I confess I’d never seen but only heard about: Brooklyn Botanic Garden just adjacent and behind the Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway. It turns out to be an easy subway ride – about twenty minutes from 14th Street on the 2 train, right to the door of both the Museum and the Botanic.

JH wanted to see it for the photo op as he’d been told that the cherry trees were really in bloom and at their peak. I’m such a tourist it never occurred to me that there would be many people with the same idea. But there were. We waited in one of two very long lines to pay our $5 (children and students with ID, free). At one point we asked one of the girls passing out Garden pamphlets how long a wait it would be. “A half hour,” she very kindly told us. I think if I’d been about ten minutes from home, I’d have left. But I wasn’t and so I didn’t. Instead, while waiting, I noticed the airliners flying fairly low overhead, obviously within the flight path of (probably) Kennedy Airport. The frequency of the planes caused me to clock them out of curiosity – one plane every 90 seconds!

The wait was worth it for a number of reasons. Who would you think would be interested in soaking up the glory of the cherry trees in blossom on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn, New York? I remember as kid how my mother and my aunts used to love to visit the public gardens to marvel at the beauty of the flowers. I think of those days of my mother when I too marvel at the tulips in the Park near me, or along the street, understanding what was a mystery for this child. However, Saturday afternoon at the Botanic, the crowd – and it was a great crowd – was everybody – all ages, shapes, sizes, with an abundance of small children, teenagers, young adults, old adults and the glorious New York mélange of everybody from every country and culture in the world. Enjoying the beauty that belongs to Brooklyn. What a pleasure bestowed on all of us by the folks over at the Brooklyn Botanic and all their supporters who keep this marvelous 52 acres of flowering, blossoming parkland fresh and breathing for all of us.

L. to r.: The bicycles outside the Brooklyn Museum; A replica of the Statue of Liberty c. 1900 standing tall in the parking lot behind the museum.
The line waiting to get in
The flight path into Kennedy
The back of the Brooklyn Museum
The museum from the front
Looking east along Eastern Parkway
Outside the 2,3 station
JH’s pictures tell the story more thoroughly and accurately. You can find out more by making a “virtual visit” to the Botanic by going to You won’t be disappointed.
Playing Go at the 25th annual Sakura Matsuri
JH at work
JH at it again

Happy Mulching To You. This was the weekend for it and not surprisingly there was a lot of park activity in New York. For example (from one of our correspondents):

Nearly forty children and their families turned out on Saturday morning for the 2nd annual Playground Partners Spring Mulching event in Central Park. Tiny rakes and gardening gloves wre handed out at the Robert Benheim Playground at 99th Street and Fifth Avenue. The tykes, excited to help, worked enthusiastically toward the beautification of their beloved Central Park. Their hard work was rewarded with wheel barrow rides, Krispy Kremes and hot chocolate. This popular event, hosted by Playground Partners, was designed to proote in children, a sense of community service. Playground Partners, chaired by Gillian Miniter, is a program of the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy. This is the group dedicated to the care and maintenance of the Park’s 21 Playgrounds.

-- EFE

To receive more information on Playground Partners, or to buy tickets to their Spring Benefit on Wednesday, May 17th at the newly renovated Hecksher Playground, please contact Dana Waits at 212-310-6617 or

Quint Miniter
Mario Vaughen of CPC with the little mulchers
Liz Finkle, Mario Vaughen, and Gillian Miniter
Get me a rake!
The Miniter family
Anna Casperson with Letitia
Happy little mulchers
Amy Schraeder
Woman’s Committee Manager, Lydia Thomas
Mulching away
Still mulching ...
Mary Ben Apatoff with her dad


Click here for NYSD Contents

May 1, 2006, Volume VI, Number 74
Photographs by JH/


© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/