As New York City braces for a potential second wave of COVID-19, Partnerships for Parks (PfP)—a joint program of NYC Parks and City Parks Foundation—has distributed over 50,000 crocus bulbs to 100 community groups across the city to memorialize the New Yorkers lost to the pandemic. One of the first bulbs to bloom each spring in New York City’s parks, PfP initiated the memorial crocus planting to bring hope as the flowers begin to bloom in March of 2021. Community groups in Brooklyn and Queens will be out planting crocuses on Saturday, November 7th, as part of the month-long effort.
This initiative is part of PfP’s It’s My Park program, which engages volunteers in beautification projects throughout city parks. More than 25,000 volunteers typically participate in It’s My Park each year, but this number has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. In spite of the pandemic, PfP currently provides support to nearly 600 community groups working to sustain 400 parks across New York City.
On Saturday, November 7th, community groups will plant crocus bulbs at Manhattan Avenue Street End Park meadow, at the end of Manhattan Ave in Brooklyn, from 11:00am to 1:00pm; Commodore Barry Park, at Flushing Ave and N. Elliott. Pl. in Brooklyn, from 1:00pm - 3:00pm; and Francis Lewis Park, at 3rd Ave between Parsons Blvd and 147 St. in Queens, from 9:00am to 11:00am.
In addition to community groups, New York City-based corporations have also lent a hand to this effort. Deutsche Bank, ING, and PNB Paribas all funded the initiative, donating a total of $30,000 and sponsoring their employees in planting almost 5,000 bulbs across the five boroughs.
This gesture comes as parks are experiencing both a dramatic increase in use and severe budget cuts, with volunteers stepping up to fill the gap. Parks have been a place of refuge for New Yorkers since the pandemic began, increasing awareness about how crucial green space is to the overall health and well-being of the city.
“New York City has lost well over 23,000 people to COVID-19,” said Hannah Gall, director of the Volunteer Program at Partnerships for Parks. “We initiated the memorial crocus planting to honor the people we’ve lost and bring hope as these flowers bloom in the spring of 2021. We thank our dedicated community groups and corporate partners for working with us to create beauty in what has otherwise been a painful year.”
“Even in the darkest of times we consistently see New Yorkers coming together to build a brighter future,” said Sabina Saragoussi, director of Partnerships for Parks. “This fall, community groups across the city are memorializing the friends, family, and neighbors we’ve lost by planting crocus bulbs to brighten city parks and bring joy in their honor. We are proud to work with our community partners in this effort.”
About Partnerships for Parks: Partnerships for Parks is a unique public-private partnership between City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks that supports and champions neighborhood volunteers by giving them the tools they need to advocate and care for their neighborhood parks and green spaces. More information about Partnership for Parks is available at www.partnershipsforparks.