The Trees of Central Park

BY Lisa Lindblad

April 30, 2016

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Find me.

No, I’m not lost. I’m walking with Oliver in the northern reaches of Central Park and have just spotted a red-tailed hawk in the leafy canopy of a wide branched tree.  I love tracking the hawks and listening to the havoc they cause among the sparrows and robins but, today, it is the tree I am looking at.

I pull out my iphone, pull up my Central Park Entire app, and press “Find Me”.

Here we are- gps’d –  hawk, Oliver and me.  And the tree.  What is this beauty?  I press on the green tree icon next to me and up comes the dialogue box –  American Elm – and I find out that this American Elm is considered one of the most amazing elms in Central Park and part of the original Olmstead planting.  I press on the East Meadow, on whose periphery the elm sits, and am told that Olmstead intended for the East Meadow to be an arboretum.  Indeed, it has some of Central Park’s most magnificent trees but it also is – and has been even in my childhood – the play ground of our after school hours and our weekends.

I hold the key to Central Park in my hand.  The team that put this app together – Ken Chaya, Ed Barnard and Nick McConnell – are quite clearly passionate guys.  2 years it took them to map the 20,000 Central Park trees, as well as every rock formation, archway, statue, monument and recreational area.  And then the identification and the history..Oh my, this is a work of art and such a life enhancer for anyone who loves, and uses, the city’s most valuable resource.

Ollie in front of one of Central Park's most venerable American Elms

Ollie in front of one of Central Park’s most venerable American Elms

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It amazes me that, loving sushi as I do, I continually find delicious Japanese restaurants that I have never heard of!  Last night I had an indulgent dinner with my son and daughter-in-law, served at Neta's sushi bar by Jay, a gentle Tibetan sushi chef with his own private stash of special fish.

The menu is large and unusual - uni porridge is just one such dish - but we, having just spent two weeks in Italy gorging on pasta, cured meats and cheese, were longing for nigiri.  Here were some of the outstanding bites: Spot prawn, Mediterranean sea bream, sweet shrimp, delicious yellowtail and, of course, uni,  from the West Coast, Chile or Japan.  Not only were the pieces prepared in those desirous small bites, but some were topped with finely grated lime rind, shiso leaf or crispy nori.  Delicious.

To be noted, the executive chef of Neta is Korean, Chef Sungchul Shim. Chef Shim brings a unique combination of Western and Eastern culinary craft and philosophy to Neta, honed from years of formal study and practical training in fine dining in Asia and the United States.

He began his career as a chef in the U.S. with an externship at the three Michelin star Le Bernardin and then continued to expand his knowledge working in many of New York’s finest kitchens, including Aureole, and Bouley among others. In less than three years, Chef Shim’s impressive skills and creativity secured him a position in the kitchen of the three Michelin star Per Se.

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