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Garden Gleanings - Deep in the heart of New York City

Posted Friday, April 4, 2008, at 10:32 AM

I spent four days in New York City this week and am more than happy to be home again, but while I was riding a train toward the airport and musing about the bleak, view going by, a bright spot jumped out at me.

Suddenly the homes were neatly maintained. Stately old homes, they were attractive and historic. The sometimes tiny lawns were well kept and clean of litter and wedged between the railroad and the retaining fence was a small oasis of community gardens.

It was like day and night. Litter was everywhere and then the pristine garden beds, tilled and ready for the season. The residents may take offense at this but I believe it was in the Borough of Queens and that was a HUGE surprise to me. I had always considered Queens to be an extremely dangerous neighborhood and CERTAINLY NEVER thought of it containing an oasis of nature! My apologies Queens.

This made me look closer at what comprises Queens and I found my community, Forest Hills. Forrest Hills? I never associated Forrest Hills with Queens. Wow, what a dummy! Forrest Hills hosts some very prestigious tennis tournaments and is home to many wealthy folks.

Here is an excerpt from a web page about the community. "Forest Hills has been careful over the years to preserve its' exclusive character and rare atmosphere. Stores with plain merchandise that can be had anywhere for small amounts of money, are not welcome here. Even a simple Café is expected to have character, style and the ability to make a statement. It is the kind of place where one can look for antiques and indulge in a gourmet experience."


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When I lived in NYC, I lived in Queens (Elmhurst) - I loved it. It was a mainly Chinese neighboorhood, everyone was so nice...living there made all the stereotypes we grow up hearing about the City pretty much go away.

-- Posted by cfrich on Fri, Apr 4, 2008, at 10:45 AM

When visited friends on the other side of the river, not far from the Queensborough Bridge I had to stop and get directions. The advice they gave me was to get back on the main road and go back to Manhattan. They were serious.

When I finally got to my friend's apartment he and his wife were surprised at my anxiety, but admitted that just last week they had had one attack and one rape in their apartment building. I believe they grow accustomed to the news.

Of course, one apartment building had more people in it than Bell Buckle, Wartrace and a few other towns combined. Maybe per capita, it was not as bad as I thought, but I was still happy to be away from there.

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Apr 4, 2008, at 1:53 PM

It's crazy to think about how some apartment buildings in NYC have more people living there than are in most of the towns in Bedford County, isn't it?

-- Posted by cfrich on Fri, Apr 4, 2008, at 3:04 PM

Steve;

You went to the wrong place. Go Upstate if you want to see. I was born & raised there. (Farm Country) Most places of importance (Hospitals, Banks,Insurance Agents, Etc.) have beautiful flower beds outside their businesses. Every kind of flower you can imagine. Little towns, all over Upstate, the same.

In 27 years in New York State, I went to the drag races on Long Island, 3 times. You could always tell when we hit New York City, the smell.

P.S. In the Spring, it's Maple syrup. So pure, it's bitter to taste. Summer, berries, all kinds. Fall, Apples, nuts, and it will be Grape stompin' time for wine making. I still know where all the secret places are today.

Google: Finger Lakes region, New York State. Oh yeah, notice all the dandelions coming out?

-- Posted by framestraight on Fri, Apr 4, 2008, at 7:17 PM

My yard is not as full of dandelions as in the past. I did not do anything to get rid of them but they must have been affected by the drought last year. I am sure they will recover, but....

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Apr 4, 2008, at 10:18 PM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.