New York City. Most populous city in our nation. Lots of tourists visit each year hoping to see the Empire State Building, an art museum, or a play. They hope to ride the subway or shop until they drop.
So many people see only Manhattan - the skyscrapers, the museums, the Broadway shows, and maybe visit Central Park. Do they leave Manhattan Island? Probably not. Do they think of New York City as a city of nature preserves? Doubtful.
But New York City is so much more than the concrete canyons of Manhattan. In Brooklyn, the native borough of my late father, I visited the Gerritsen Creek Salt Marsh and Nature Center on Sunday. People are working hard to restore a salt marsh along Gerritsen Creek in Brooklyn. The center had closed by the time we got there and only a small part of the nature trail was open.
I don't know if these particular pilings are all that remains of the first tide-powered gristmill in America, built in 1645 by Wolfert Gerritsen but it would be pretty nice if they were.
One of the signs along the nature trail.
Near this sign, a display of native plants was still sleeping for the winter. Various labeled plants are on display for educational purposes. Indeed. a lot of education goes on at this site. My cousin has attended nature lectures and walks several times.
Come spring, various shrubs and trees will awaken. Here's one of the few that is awake now, in a New York February, a pitch pine.
My cousin, who lives in this neighborhood, called Marine Park, is fortunate enough to have this treasure in walking distance of her house. (It is also easily reached by mass transit.) She's seen lots of wildlife there and told me wampum is still found there sometimes during the restoration digging. A lot of shelling was done in nearby areas by native Americans and a native American village was located just a few blocks away.
The next time you visit New York City - why not come for its natural side?
Next Wednesday, another treasure of the Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.