Today’s news:

Neighbor to Neighbor: Springtime in Queens means visits to parks

Now that spring is in full bloom, it would do everyone a lot of good to get some fresh air and exercise in one of our beautiful parks. All the city’s parks are nice, of course, but the parks in our own borough want you to become better acquainted with them so you can feel less stressed, enjoy fresh air, sunshine, exercise and nature’s treasures. If you like photography, take your camera. If you have youngsters, bring them along. There will be enough fun to go around for everyone!

This year, you probably have noticed swaths of daffodils lighting up many landscapes—memorial tributes to the many victims of the tragedies that shocked the world on Sept. 11. Like our people, these flowers are strong and worthy of being protected so they will multiply and be a reminder to future generations that life must go on. Here and there, other little fuzzy, golden dandelion heads peak out from under their grassy green blankets.

When we had a lawn at home, I had a hard time about those little guys because I knew they were not supposed to be there. It was hard to part with them because I think they are pretty, whether in the juvenile yellow stage, or when wearing their balding white locks. I wonder if anyone still blows away the seeds to find out if a special wish will come true.

Those who live near Brookville Park have a plus for every season. The lake is always beautiful and the feathery reeds sway with the breeze and direct birds, as an orchestra leader would, when it’s time for them to come down. The birds are fascinating creatures to watch. I hope the mated swans will be there this year. We may even be lucky enough to have a snowy egret or a blue heron. We already have Canadian geese, ducks and a variety of seabirds and songbirds. There is no nicer way to teach children how to identify objects in nature than to let them see them.

They probably won’t have trouble spotting squirrels, but they may have to do a little hunting if they want to see any toads, grasshoppers or crickets—maybe near the water, where the violets are in bloom. Of course, they might prefer bike riding, kite flying, going on the swings or trying some of the climbing challenges. And how about those nice tennis courts; they certainly bring back happy memories for me, not that I ever was a tennis whiz. I never understood why anyone would want to run around, smacking at a ball in the broiling sun.

When my sister and I were growing up, we had some very cold winters and that inspired the Park Department to flood those tennis courts for ice skating. That was during the Great Depression, so such a free treat was very much appreciated.

Our Dad loved to ice skate so we had no trouble convincing him to take us. We rode our bikes there too, and sometimes sailed toy boats on strings at the edge of the lake. Daddy had a rather impressive-looking model sailboat, on land, anyway. It had a big, white sail and a shiny, green hull. My boat was unimpressive-looking on land. It was an orange-and-black wooden ferry boat. Of the two, the ferry was proven more seaworthy. Every little breeze that hit the sail flipped that boat on its side in the water. My little ferry rode the ripples on the water’s surface as if it were having the time of its life. Daddy got discouraged about that event, so for the most part we contented ourselves with other things.

If you are like we were, you have a companion dog who is a family member that you enjoy having with you. You may, of course, bring the dog along, but remember, please clean up and leash your dog. It is the law and it is better for all concerned, including your pet. It only takes a split second for a dog to decide to run after something, and the nearby roads are heavily traveled. We want everyone to have an enjoyable time and to stay safe. We hope to see you there.

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