New York, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Frank Bruni pens an appreciation for the incredible transformation New York City has undergone in the last 15 years, as Mayor Bloomberg's "greenest of thumbs" has expanded the lush life across the city's five boroughs.
July 16, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"[A] place of newly gorgeous waterfront promenades, of trees, tall grasses and blooming flowers on patches of land and peninsulas of concrete and even stretches of rail tracks that were blighted or blank before," writes Bruni, who, on the occasion of an international conference called "Greater & Greener: Re-Imagining Parks for 21st Century Cities" being held in the city, argues that the "extraordinary greening of New York" ranks high among Michael Bloomberg's greatest accomplishments as mayor. 

"One of the principal legacies of his long mayoralty will be a city that, in certain charmed spots on certain charmed days, can feel as relaxed and breezy and kissed by nature as one of those ecologically vain enclaves of the Pacific Northwest. To the bustle of traffic, he has added the rustle of more trees, byways for bicycles, perches with exquisite views."

Although it's progressed incrementally, with a High Line here and a Brooklyn Bridge Park there, Bruni ties New York's "newly lush life" to a national trend in revitalizing and building urban parks. "While so much of American life right now is attended by the specter of decline, many cities are blossoming, with New York providing crucial inspiration."  

"'We're living in an era of re-urbanization,' said Catherine Nagel, executive director of the City Parks Alliance, which is sponsoring the conference in New York. And the increased population density means that 'we need green space,' she said."

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Published on Saturday, July 14, 2012 in The New York Times
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