Volume 20, Number 49 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | April 20 - 26, 2011
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Battery Park City’s cherry trees have been blooming every April for more than two decades on the periphery of the oval lawn at the World Financial Center.
Covering Battery Park City
BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Every year, around the second week in April, Battery Park City’s cherry trees on the oval lawn south of 2 World Financial Center burst into bloom. The canopy of white blossoms seems to cast a spell: people sit quietly on park benches, taking in the spectacle, mothers hold their toddlers aloft to get closer to the blooms, lovers lie close to each other on the lawn, strewn with petals.
These trees are the Yoshino species (Prunus yedoensis), according to James Morrisey, general manager of the World Financial Center complex, which is owned by Brookfield Properties. He said the trees are around 24 to 26 years old, and will decline after 30 to 35 years. Trees of this kind “rarely remain healthy for more than 40 years,” he said.
He said that when the time comes, Brookfield would replace the trees with mature specimens that would approximate the current luxuriant display.
Yoshino cherry trees are hybrids that occur naturally in Japan and have been exported to many parts of the world. They were introduced to Europe and the United States in 1902. Most of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. are Yoshino cherries, a gift to the United States from Japan. The first Tidal Basin trees were planted a century ago; additional trees have been planted in Washington since then, most recently between 1986 and 1988.
Washington, D.C.’s famed Cherry Blossom Festival is over for this year, but Battery Park’s City’s cherry tree display should last a little longer, depending on the wind and weather.
The trees will have finished their blooming by April 30 when the Battery Park City Community Network is sponsoring a benefit at SouthWest NY to raise money for charitable aid to Japan. The event will take place between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. on SouthWest NY’s outdoor dining area, at 2 World Financial Center, facing North Cove Marina. A $20 admission fee will cover food and a donation. Margaritas will be half price. Additional money will be raised via a raffle.
The Battery Park City Community Network comprises Battery Park City Cares, the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) and its affiliate, Animal Search and Rescue, TimeBank, the Gateway Tenants Association, the B.P.C. Dog Association, B.P.C. Seniors, the TriBattery Pops and the P.T.A. from P.S./I.S. 276.
Battery Park City Parks Conservancy programs:
From May 1 to the end of October, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy offers programs for people of all ages, most of them free. There will be art classes, sports, story telling, fishing bird watching, concerts, garden tours, community dances and more, all taking place in Battery Park City’s beautiful parks and gardens. However, a few of the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy’s programs do require pre-registration and incur a fee. Here’s a brief rundown on the fee-based programs for young people:
Green Adventure is for students entering sixth to eighth grades who are interested in nature and environmental stewardship. The group visits parks, gardens, organic farms and farmers’ markets and fishes, sails and rows under the leadership of Ellen McCarthy, the former children’s garden manager at the New York Botanical Garden. Mon.-Fri., July 11-July 29; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $575. Gardening Club for children in first through fifth grades. Ellen McCarthy and Doug van Horn teach gardening skills in the Children’s Garden in Rockefeller Park. Tuesdays from May 3 to Oct. 25; 4 p.m.-5 p.m. $80 per two-month cycle. Explorers’ Club is for first, second and third graders, who learn about plants, animals and the environment as they explore B.P.C.’s parks with Doug van Horn. Mondays, May 2 to June 20 (except May 30); 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. $84. For more information about these programs or to register, call (212) 267-9700, ext. 348 or visit the B.P.C. Conservancy office at 75 Battery Place.
Cavatapi Chicken Alfredo Pasta with portabella mushrooms, grilled chicken, peas, bacon and Parmesan cheese is on the spring/summer menu at Merchants River House.
Spring and summer menus:
Spring in Battery Park City is marked not just by a profusion of flowers but by menu changes at Merchants River House, which has two outdoor plazas overlooking the Hudson River and at SouthWest NY, with seating under a shady canopy of London plane trees facing North Cove Marina. Both are favorite places to enjoy warm spring and summer evenings. At Merchants River House, look for chicken Alfredo pasta, made with cavatapi (corkscrew-shaped pasta), portabella mushrooms, grilled chicken, peas, bacon and Parmesan cheese ($16) and miso broiled salmon with wasabi mashed potatoes and baby bok choy ($18.25). Mahi mahi tamales are new at SouthWest NY. They’re made with brown rice, ginger, cilantro and coconut milk wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed ($20). The new dessert at Merchants River House is a chocolate mousse pie ($5.25) made by Mike Martin, who opened Mike’s Pies in Tampa, Fla. after he finished playing football for the Bears and the Patriots. Wade Burch, executive chef for the Merchants Hospitality restaurants, says he met Mike around seven years ago at a food show and liked both the man and his pies. Merchants River House is on the Battery Park City esplanade between Albany and Liberty Streets and SouthWest NY is at 2 World Financial Center. Both are open daily and both deliver. For more information, go to www.merchantsriverhouse.com and to www.southwestny.com.
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@mac.com
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