Columbus Avenue Festival

Columbus Avenue Festival

On Sunday, September 16th, vendors and shoppers filled Columbus Avenue from 68th to 86th Streets for the Columbus Avenue Festival. This street fair raises money for grants awarded by the West Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

Columbus Avenue Festival outside Roosevelt Park

Columbus Avenue Festival outside Roosevelt ParkGoodies in the garden

It wouldn’t be a street fair without street food, and many visitors took advantage of the beautiful day to enjoy scrumptious festival food.  Roosevelt Park’s shady trees and benches provided perfect spots to relax with an end-of-summer brunch!

Labor Day

Theodore Roosevelt by John Singer Sargent, 1903Labor Day

Labor Day started in the 1880’s, when individual states began passing legislation to create a holiday to honor workers. In 1894, Congress made the first Monday in September a legal holiday, Labor Day.

Theodore Roosevelt’s Labor Day speech

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt, Roosevelt Park’s namesake, gave a speech that linked the prosperity of laborers to the prosperity of the entire country. He said, “If circumstances are such that thrift, energy, industry, and forethought enable the farmer, the tiller of the soil, on the one hand, and the wage-worker on the other, to keep themselves, their wives, and their children in reasonable comfort, then the State is well off, and we can be assured that the other classes in the community will likewise prosper. On the other hand, if there is in the long run a lack of prosperity among the two classes named, then all other prosperity is sure to be more seeming than real.”

 

2018 GreenLife Interns in Roosevelt Park

GreenLife Interns in Roosevelt Park
Top, l to r: Keith, Christian, Christopher, Bry, Luis, Ada (Parks Supervisor), Kareem. Bottom, l to r: Eloy, Adrian, Gurdy, Gabriel.

GreenLife Job Readiness Program

GreenLife was created 15 years ago by Friends of Roosevelt Park in conjunction with the Rudin Foundation and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who was our City Council member at that time. These paid interns are students at the nearby Urban Assembly for Green Careers high school, and they work in Roosevelt Park for nine months a year under close supervision.

How do interns benefit from the GreenLife program?

The internship teaches students three job disciplines:

  • Show up on time
  • Be a team player
  • Take instruction

The 2018 Urban Assembly graduation included four GreenLife alumni, all of whom are going on to four-year colleges!

Parks Without Borders on the 77th Street Lawn

Visitors sit on the lawn in Roosevelt Park at 77th St
Parks Without Borders on the 77th Street lawn – so far so good!

Park visitors can now enter two of Roosevelt Park’s previously closed lawns: one on the southwest side (77th Street and Columbus Avenue), and the other on the northwest side (81st and Columbus). The lawns are open to passive recreation only, so you won’t be able to play sports in these areas, but you can sit right on the grass! Dogs are also not allowed on these lawns, but they are welcome in the Bull Moose Dog Run.

The Parks Without Borders sections are currently open in good weather only, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., from June through September.

Take a seat on the lawn!

Hosta in late spring

Hosta Blooming at the Bull Moose Dog Run

Hosta in Roosevelt Park

Hosta is native to China, Japan, and Korea. It’s a shade-loving, rhizomatous, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial, with lush, sensuous foliage. Hosta varies in size from dwarfs, which are inches tall, to giants of five feet. Leaves come in a variety of colors, shapes and textures: blue-green, dark green, chartreuse, bronze, red, variegated, crinkled, smooth, wavy, concave, oval, round, heart-shaped, elongated, narrow, and twisted.

New York City is ideal for Hosta plants

With a relatively cool climate, and sun that isn’t too strong, New York City is a great place for Hosta plants. In Roosevelt Park, sweeps of magnificent hosta grow luxuriantly in front of the Bull Moose dog run.

The origins of Roosevelt Park’s Hosta plants

We planted Hosta in the park in 2014, and they are now mature, rich in color and large.  Hosta bloom in late spring, so June is a great time to visit the park and see them.

Earth Day

Earth Day

Roosevelt Park Trees and Flowers

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Conceived by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day was intended to increase awareness of threats to the environment.

Roosevelt Park NYC bare dirtTwenty years after the first Earth Day, The Friends of Roosevelt Park were a newly formed group, dedicated to the restoration of Roosevelt Park. The park had been neglected, resulting in stretches of bare dirt broken interspersed with dead plants. It was a stressed environment.

Today, Earth Day has become an international observance, and Roosevelt Park has been restored to a welcoming slice of nature in the city. Its 10 acres are filled with trees, grass, and flowers. This Earth Day, come sit on one of our benches and celebrate how far the park has come!

Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug

Nobel monument in Roosevelt ParkNorman E. Borlaug was born on March 25th, 1914, in Cresco, Iowa, and he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. His name appears on the Nobel monument in Roosevelt Park, which lists all of the American recipients of the Nobel Prize. The monument is located near the park’s Columbus Avenue entrance.

The Green Revolution

Norman Borlaug was referred to as “The Father of the Green Revolution.” Borlaug was a geneticist and plant pathologist who found a high-yielding short-strawed, disease-resistant wheat. He then arranged to put the new cereal strains he had found into production to feed the world’s hungry people, thereby reducing some of the environmental and social problems that cause international conflicts. His efforts improved wheat yields in Mexico, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Near and Middle East, and in Africa.

Dr. Borlaug then became director of the International Wheat Improvement Programat the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), an international research training institute created by the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations in cooperation with the Mexican government. Here he trained scientists from a variety of countries in research and production methods.

Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. Borlaug’s received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for contributing to world peace by increasing the food supply, particularly due to his work in eliminating food shortages in India and Pakistan. In 1997, in an Atlantic article called “Forgotten Benefactor of Humanity,” author Gregg Easterbrook, estimated that Borlaug’s work had prevented a billion deaths. Dr. Borlaug was 95 years old when he died, on September 12, 2009.

Cardinal in the snow

Watching the Birds

This cardinal enjoys the snowy landscape at Theodore Roosevelt Park.