Battery Park City, April 3, 2013

 Retired Met “Doc” Gooden will be at the Downtown Little League’s Opening Day, April 7.


Retired Met “Doc” Gooden will be at the Downtown Little League’s Opening Day, April 7.

Ball fields ready for Downtown Little League to open:

There should be a rousing celebration on Sun., April 7 when the Downtown Little League takes to the Battery Park City ball fields for the opening of the 2013 season. Were it not for the intercession of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and advice from synthetic turf experts for the New York Mets, the ball fields, wrecked by Superstorm Sandy, would not have been ready in time.

The 85,000-square-foot fields, covered with $3 million worth of artificial turf, had to be completely remade.

“There’s nothing better than having a deadline that’s real,” said B.P.C.A. chairperson Dennis Mehiel at the Authority’s board of directors meeting on March 26, when he announced that the B.P.C.A. had issued a permit for opening day.

More than 900 kids have registered to play in the Downtown Little League this year. They range in age from the 5-year-olds, who play T-ball, to 17-year-olds in the Senior League.

The opening day festivities will begin with a parade starting at City Hall Park. Players in uniform and their families will assemble at 8 a.m. and depart at 8:30 a.m., led by Marijo Russell-O’Grady, dean of students at Pace University. Escorted by the N.Y.P.D., the group will march across Park Place to Greenwich St. and then to Murray St.

The TriBattery Pops will be on the fields to greet them, playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” and other favorites.

Former Mets ace Dwight “Doc” Gooden, star of the ’86 World Series team, will be on hand to represent the Mets and sign autographs.

Speaker Silver, City Councilmember Margaret Chin and Downtown Alliance president Liz Berger will also be there, with Speaker Silver pitching the first ball.

Then guests can enjoy a carnival set up on Warren St. with an obstacle course, dunk tank, “Baseball Speed Pitch” and “Batter Up” inflatable games, plus four carnival games. There will be popcorn, cotton candy and face-painters. The carnival will end at 11:30 a.m. as the first games of the season get under way.

Mehiel commended Gwen Dawson, the B.P.C.A.’s senior vice president of asset management, and her team for “executing under difficult circumstances and a compressed time frame” to get the fields ready. He also applauded the efforts of Speaker Silver, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblymember Deborah Glick and Councilmember Chin.

Applied Landscape Technologies did the work, racing against a deadline that was made more difficult by snowstorms.

Battery Park City Seniors:

The Battery Park City Seniors group has plans to leave town. On Wednesday, June 19, members will be going by van to the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. The museum houses more than 185,000 works, including African art, American paintings and sculpture, art of the ancient Americas, coins and medals, Asian art, European art, prints, drawings, photographs and more.

At the time of the B.P.C. seniors’ visit, the museum will be hosting a special exhibit of art objects made of wood drawn from the renowned collection of Ruth and David Waterbury and organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Ruth Ohman, who heads the seniors’ group, said that details of the New Haven trip are being finalized.

In the meantime, the seniors have a lot to keep them busy close to home with exercise and meditation classes, a weekly walking group and a monthly dinner event called “Seniors’ Night Out” on the second Tuesday of the month.

“Seniors’ Night Out began originally at Izzy & Nats,” said Ohman, referring to the deli formerly at 311 South End Ave. that closed and reopened as Pick-A-Bagel. “Our idea now is to go to different neighborhood restaurants.” So far, the group has tried Wei West and Merchants River House, where it will be meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9. The seniors get a 20 percent discount.

Reservations for Seniors’ Night Out are necessary by Sunday, April 7. Email Ohman at ruthohman605@yahoo.com to reserve or to learn more about the group and its activities.

Downtown Express flower photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer One of the most spectacular of the miniature irises now blooming in Battery Park City is called Iris “Katharine Hodgkin.” A botanist and writer named E.B. Anderson created this hybrid in the 1960s by crossing two rare irises — I. winogradowii and I. histrioides. He named his exotic new flower after the wife of Eliot Hodgkin, another passionate gardener.

Downtown Express flower photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
One of the most spectacular of the miniature irises now blooming in Battery Park City is called Iris “Katherine Hodgkin.” A botanist and writer named E.B. Anderson created this hybrid in the 1960s by crossing two rare irises — I. winogradowii and I. histrioides. He named his exotic new flower after the wife of Eliot Hodgkin, another passionate gardener.

Battery Park City in bloom:
Although the weather remains cold, Battery Park City’s gardens have burst into dazzling springtime bloom. Daffodils glow against moist, brown earth. The hillside at South Cove is blanketed with miniature blue-purple irises (Iris reticulata “Harmony”). In the south-facing “cool garden” of Wagner Park (so called because it was planted with flowers in the blue and pastel shades of the color spectrum), Chionodoxa forbesii “Pink giant,” commonly called glory-of-the-snow, suggests an artfully arranged bouquet, paired with delicate white Scilla bifolia, otherwise known as “alpine squill.” Elsewhere in Wagner Park, large, white crocuses (Crocus ‘Joan of Arc’) explode from the ground like rockets.

Amidst all this springtime finery in Wagner Park, nothing is more handsome than Iris “Katherine Hodgkin.” The petals of this miniature iris are sky blue. The large lip is yellow, flecked with darker blue and delicately striped.

An amateur gardener in Gloucestershire, England, named E.B. Anderson (1885-1971) created this flower around 60 years ago when he crossbred two rare irises, I. winogradowii and I. histriodes. His efforts produced two seeds. One of them died. The other flowered for the first time in 1960. Gallantly, he named his hybrid for the wife of his friend and fellow garden enthusiast, Eliot Hodgkin. All of the examples of Iris ‘Katherine Hodgkin’ are descended from that plant.

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To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@gmail.com.

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