Daffodil Project: Effort to Help City Recover From 9/11 and Beautify Parks in Full Bloom
The first flowers of spring are poking up around the city -- including millions of daffodils, many of them planted as a direct result of the September 11th attacks. Our Roger Clark filled the following report on the Daffodil Project, now in full bloom.
On a dreary, rainy Monday morning, the daffodils in Morningside Park somehow provide brightness and cheer.
"It seems like a little thing. But it's a big thing," says Aissatou Bey, Vice President of the Friends of Morningside Park
The flowering plants come courtesy of the Daffodil Project - run by the advocacy group New Yorkers for Parks.
It began in the days after 9/11 with a donation of bulbs from Holland - part of the effort to help the city recover from the terrorist attacks. More bulbs have been planted every year since then.
"Basically from mid-October 2001 through that fall a million bulbs were planted and we've continued ever since we've hit six million as of this past fall," says Emily Walker, Director of Outreach and Programs, New Yorkers For Parks
Planted by New Yorkers in area where the public can enjoy the spring flowers - schools, street tree pits, community gardens and of course parks, like Morningside.
The Parks Department is totally on board with the beautification initiative in all five boroughs.
"It's good for the work they do which is significant," sais Liam Kavanagh, first deputy parks commissioner. "It's also good for the bonds it builds between people and their parks."
A strong one for the Friends of Morningside Park, who were in on the first Daffodil Project planting 15 years ago and have benefitted ever since. Daffodils are perennials -- once a bulb is planted, it blooms every year. So the effect of planting bulbs each year is cumulative.
"We try to get as many as we can from New Yorkers for Parks every year so we get 1100 bulbs so over 15 years that's a lot of daffodils. And it's a 30 acre park so they are all over the park," says Brad Taylor, president of the Friends of Morningside Park
"I've seen this park at its worst. And I'm seeing this park at its best," Bey says.
"New Yorkers for Parks is hoping folks around town will share photos of the daffodils planted in their neighborhoods - using the hashtag #daffodilproject. To find out more head to NY4P.org.