Essay in Wildflowers of New York

I contributed an essay to Andrew Garden’s new book Wildflowers of New York City. It explores over 2,000 wildflowers that flourish around the five boroughs. These wildflowers are often overlooked and I love the way that Garn has captured their beauty with his photographs. The book is available from Cornell University Press and the New York Times feature on it highlighted my writing: “Others came as stowaways, as the writer Allison C. Meier notes in the book’s introduction. In the 19th century, the botanist Addison Brown scoured the heaps of discarded ballast — earth and stones that weighed down ships — by city docks for unfamiliar blossoms, as he noted in an 1880 issue of the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club.”

Here’s the beginning of my essay on “Nature as a Living Map of New York City”:

New York City’s nature is a living map of its history. While pockets of old growth forest endure in places like Inwood Hill Park in Manhattan with its towering tulip trees and red oaks and the 50-acre Thain Family Forest with its 17th-century woodlands protected in the New York Botanic Garden in the Bronx, much of the landscape in the five boroughs has been disrupted and changed over the past centuries. Greenspace was fractured into islands of land like parks, community gardens, and cemeteries. Concrete, glass, and steel now dominate the city.