gardening with the good friends of gantry

I arrived at Gantry Plaza State Park early to sit by the water to enjoy the spectacular view of Manhattan skyline while I enjoyed my cup of steamy black coffee. Since this park is a short commute away from both my apartment and the studio I visit here often. I love to ride my bike down to the water early in the morning and relax on the hammocks and read a good book.

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I signed up for the gardening project earlier in the week on the New York Cares website. We were also teaming up with the Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park, a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining this beautiful East River park since 2001, along with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

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On their website, the Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park state their mission “…is to enhance the quality of life in Long Island City, NY, by promoting awareness of, concern for and participation in the publicly accessible green and open space in the neighborhood and along the waterfront.”

At 10 am we met up with Theresa, our Project Leader from New York Cares and Bill Bylewski, the President of Friends of Gantry Plaza State Park. We signed our waivers and volunteer service agreements that are mandatory to fill out each year to volunteer at this park because it covers a person with insurance in case of an accident.

Each volunteer gets a bright green vest to wear  that were supplied by New York Cares during I Love My Park Days which is a great idea because it shows park goers that volunteers are maintaining the park they are enjoying and to encourage them to ask us how to participate as a volunteer if they are interested as well. And a vest goes on top of any outfit!

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A big THANK YOU to Anne, Irene, and Anika for allowing me to photograph their hard work in the rose garden and allowing it to be on my blog. Everything that is done by the Friends of the Gantry is on a volunteer basis, including all the office work that goes into a non-profit organization.

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As we worked we talked about the park, our lives, and our volunteer experiences. It’s always nice to hear others passionately share their volunteer experiences with me. Some volunteers were new to this park and loved the view and the beautiful gardens. It’s surprising to find out how many people are not aware this park exists. Come to Queens and visit us more often!

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After weeding the rose gardens I strolled over to the outdoor cafe to check out the menu. A fresh pot of coffee was graciously brewed for me. I needed more coffee!  :)

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