2014 Daffodil Project Awardees Announced

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Last fall, NY4P brought the Daffodil Project to schools and New York City Housing Authority developments hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, including in Broad Channel and Far Rockaway, Queens, Midland Beach in Staten Island, Red Hook, Brooklyn and Manhattan’s East Village. As these and millions more daffodils eek their way into bloom after the long winter, NY4P will honor five outstanding participants next Thursday at the Annual Daffodil Breakfast at Bryant Park Grill.

2014 Lynden B. Miller Citywide Daffodil Award Recipient

Horticultural Society of New York
Sara Hobel & Hilda Krus
GreenHouse Program

NY4P staff boarded a bus before 7am last fall at Queensboro Plaza, bound for Rikers Island. There, we spent the day with Krus, planting daffodils bulbs in a traffic circle that greets jail visitors and staff, and on a lawn next to the juvenile detention center. This memorable morning was made possible through the remarkable work of the Horticultural Society of New York’s GreenHouse Program, which has engaged pre-release Rikers inmates since 1989. Since then, program participants have started a successful on-site greenhouse and designed several acres of gardens. And a new public-private partnership through the initiative works to employ graduates of the program as horticultural maintenance staffers at Department of Transportation Public Plazas, particularly those in lower-income communities.

Borough Award Recipients

Justin Czarka and Grace Binuya
P.S. 48 Joseph Rodman Drake School and Hunts Point Slave Burial Ground Project

In 2010, P.S. 48 teacher Justin Czarka found a photo from the turn of the century that piqued his curiosity. It described a slave burial ground in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx, where the school is located. Determined to find out exactly where the ground was located, he and colleague Grace Binuya developed a new curriculum and led their students on a search for clues. Their work led them to nearby Joseph Rodman Drake Park. A recent federal site survey has confirmed their finding. Now, their work at the park has evolved into a broader stewardship effort. Last fall, NY4P joined them to plant daffodils there, which will serve as an annual reminder of a site that had long been forgotten.

Anne Marie Rameau
Breukelen Sight Garden, Brooklyn

Anne Marie Rameau didn’t just attend NY4P’s distribution at the Seth Low Houses in Brownsville to pick up her daffodil bulbs. Almost immediately upon her arrival, she was busy clearing out the butterfly garden in front of the community center. A few hours later, weeds had been cleared and the space was ripe for planting. This work was nothing new for her. With the help of the New York City Housing Authority’s Garden and Greening Program, Rameau has cultivated a sprawling garden at the Breukelen Houses, in Canarsie, since she moved there in the late 70s. Her work illustrates not only how essential the Housing Authority’s gardening program is across the city, but also the potential of often-overlooked NYCHA open spaces.

Richard Toussaint
Harlem River Park Task Force

In the 1980s, there was no park along the shores of the upper Harlem River: just an inaccessible stretch of land sandwiched between the river and the Harlem River Drive. Richard Toussaint helped change that. He pushed the Parks Department to acquire and develop the space, and when Harlem River Park opened late 90s, his dream was largely realized. Now, he continues to advocate for the park’s expansion as a member of the Harlem River Park Task Force – a complex task given the array of city and state agencies that control land adjacent to the park. Between a slew of community meetings, he finds time to join NY4P in the park – both for cleanups and Daffodil Project plantings.

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance

At a moment when there is no shortage of public officials and planners from New York City and beyond thinking about the long-term future of the Rockaway peninsula’s waterfront, the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance is working on the ground to foster a deeper connection between the community and its shoreline. Much of their work is focused on greening open spaces through local school partnerships. In 2013, Dupont, the Alliance’s founder, hosted a Daffodil Project distribution event, NY4P’s first in the Rockaways. Daffodils are, of course, just a small symbol of resilience. But this spring, they are a bright spot in an area still struggling to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Staten Island
Friends of Historic Tappen Park

Stapleton, on Staten Island, was once a center of commerce, home to several German-American breweries in the 19th century. But the 1964 completion of the Verrazno-Narrows Bridge shifted the Island’s commercial center away from the neighborhood, and the community felt the economic effects. Tappen Park suffered too. Kamillah Hanks was elected to lead the newly formed Friends of Historic Tappen Park in 1999, and has since worked to restore the greenspace’s role as a true town square. She has partnered with the city to being bring programming to the park, and has cultivated a local volunteer network that includes local businesses and a nearby school for autistic children. Now, she says, the neighborhood is on an upswing – and that it all flows from the park at its center.

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