Randalls Island Park Alliance

Eye of the Storm

In General Plants, New Ideas and Expansions on November 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

By Phyllis Odessey

We didn’t know what to expect.  How many trees would be lost?  Would the gardens survive?  Would saltwater destroy the plants?  What would be required for restoration?

We garden on an island and that has many advantages.  We can walk to the mainland of Manhattan; we have beautiful views of the New York skyline; from the island we can see the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan.

Most of the time, Randall’s Island seems like the most unique place to work:  in the middle of the city and simultaneously surrounded by nature.  BUT, a hurricane poses challenges to gardening on an island.

On Wednesday, we drove around and accessed the situation.  “It’s not that bad.”
The river washed over these plants; it’s hard to tell.  They have ‘bounced’ back…holding their shape and color.  The Water’s Edge Garden is one of the most beloved places on Randall’s Island.  It is the access pathway from the 104 st. bridge to Icahn Stadium and the many of the fields on the island.  It is the regular walking and biking path for many New Yorkers.  It has survived.

There are trees down, branches small and large in the garden and debris covering plants from water washing over the garden, but we are hard at work, making progress.  We hope to open the pathway to visitors on Monday.

As Majora Carter said “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”  I remembered these words as I walked around Randall’s Island after Hurricane Sandy.  My first thoughts:  what we can change, improve and how can we create more beauty.


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