Saturday, April 28, 2007


New York’s vegetation, so long stuck in a suspended animation, has finally shaken off winter. Strangely, when the rain stopped last week, the spring flowers seemed to bloom simultaneously rather than sequentially. My favorite spring flowers are tulips, such as these found on Park Avenue. Known for its soaring real estate prices and affluence, Park Avenue (formerly called Fourth Avenue) is a wide thoroughfare on the Upper East Side that runs parallel to Madison Avenue to the west and Lexington Avenue to the east. The blooms and foliage in the median island of this wide boulevard are maintained by the Fund for Park Avenue. Aside from Central Park, this is where I enjoy photographing tulips. While most of the photos above were taken on Park Avenue, some of them were made outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on the Upper West Side, the Weill Medical College of Cornell University on the Upper East Side, and at the park in front of City Hall downtown. Whether the background are NYC yellow taxicabs, out of focus traffic lights or an off-white concrete wall, tulips are always photogenic.

The tulip is actually a native of Central Asia, in the Tien-Shan and the Pamir-Alai mountain ranges near Islamabad, Pakistan. A secondary genetic center developed in Azerbaijan and Armenia. The tulip is still closely associated with the Netherlands even though it is not a native Dutch flower. The Dutch, however made tulip cultivation the cornerstone of an industry that lasted hundreds of years. Tulips were not introduced to the Netherlands until 1593. These flowers were first seen by Europeans in Turkey and it is believed that the Turks had been cultivating tulips as early as AD 1000. The tulip got its name from the Turkish word for turban, owing to the flower's resemblance to the Middle Eastern headgear. Tulips are perennial bulbous plants with waxy-textured green leaves and large flowers with six velvety petals.


Streams of Consciousness said...

How I love the white tulips! Flawless!

Webster Light Grant Communications said...

I notice that the tulips are blooming again this year. Pretty. All White.
Is their a significance to the color?