New York City slows down a little in the summer. It’s nice. It’s a great time for getting to know neighbors and getting reacquainted with our ever-changing neighborhood. Some members of our group have been away on summer travels, and the rest of us have been enjoying summer together in the garden.
This is an amazing garden. There’s a little pond with turtles, goldfish and a big mouth frog. There are huge mulberry trees that make it shady, cool and secluded, great on hot summer days. There are beautiful flowers and plants everywhere, there are beehives, there’s a little greenhouse, a whole little world!
Our time in the garden has been busy with cooking and eating, visiting and playing. We’ve had a great mix of neighbors and friends. Cindy and Haja, the founders and directors of the garden, organized some wonderful summer programs. In the mornings Cindy and Raven, the gardens 18-year-old intern, hosted a story hour for toddlers, which was very nice. In the afternoons Raven did activities and tutoring with children ages 7 to 12.
One of the girls we met was Dee Dee, a spirited 7 years old who loved playing with our younger kids. She always came with her grandmother, Ms. Rogers and they often came early, which gave us a chance to get to know them over lunch. We met a woman named Ruth, an Austrian filmmaker working on a documentary about gardens in the city. She really enjoyed filming our children playing and our families cooking. Our kids even got to help in the garden by assisting Yvette, a garden member, in laying mulch. It really worked out to be a perfect activity for them and a great way for them to contribute to the space. So far we’ve enjoyed the garden with minor scrapes and bruises and only one bee sting, (to the eye).
Community spaces that aren’t segregated by family status and age are so valuable to us. It was great being mothers with our children in a community like this. It’s been so nice to benefit from all the work Cindy and Haja have done over the past 20 years to create it. We look forward to all the experiences the garden has for us next.