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Archives for April 21, 2014

The Grand Hatters of NYC’s Easter Parade

NEW YORK—No one knows exactly when the pompous Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue turned into the palooza of quirkiness it is today. Yet this Sunday it proved again to flaunt one of the trademark traits of New Yorkers—the guts to reveal one’s creativity and wear it proudly.

Hardly a parade at all, the event consists of loosely organized groups and individuals promenading up and down Fifth Avenue between 57th and 49th streets, sporting elaborate bonnets of all shapes, often accompanied by vintage clothing.

Mostly floral, the hats’ designs range from high-level artistry to uncontrolled outbursts of bizarre creation. Some don’t hesitate to fit live animals into the outfits. The street is closed to traffic and flooded with onlookers taking pictures of the best hatters.

Angelique Berroya, 11, has been honing her hat decoration skills since she was three. She has presented the results at the parade for the past four years. Berroya spent two whole days crafting her marvelous peacock bonnet. “It’s really fun to get my picture taken,” she said. Her father, Roland, has been bringing her to the parade since she was born.

The Tradition

The tradition of flowery hat display dates back to the mid-nineteen century, when Saint Thomas Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral started to decorate their interiors with flowers for the Easter Sunday Mass. By that time, the custom of showing respect by wearing one’s best attire on Easter Sunday had already acquired a frivolous flair, with wealthy ladies flaunting their wardrobes. As the church flower decorations grew in intricacy, it was only natural for the ladies to garment their chapeaus accordingly.

Yet, some time in the second half of the twentieth century, the showing off of fancy fashion trends loosened up, and all kinds of contraptions appeared on the avenue.

Upper West Side professional artist Jodie Trapani has been using the parade to vent her ideas for 26 years. “It’s a chance to be out there and bring my art into the world,” she said, adding “It’s a chance to mix with people and make them smile.”

“I like landscaping,” said Jean Lagalia from Queens. She explained that her hat featured a house and a garden from the children’s book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” by Beatrix Potter. “I always try to do something with flowers, but I can’t seem to do pretty, so I do houses,” she said. Last year she fashioned her hat with a replica of the Pemberley mansion from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” “My sister did the book and I did the movie,” she said, laughing.

This year’s parade was a debut for Amabel Chan, a gardener from Connecticut. She came with her husband, two daughters, and two friends. “What an invigorating experience,” she commented. “Lovely to feel part of the energy.”

Her younger daughter Grace, 10, acknowledged the amount of attention she was getting was a little bit embarrassing. Her bonnet was decorated with white flowers and a large butterfly, ingeniously made to flap its wings at Grace’s command. She designed the hat herself.

Chan’s hat sported professionally arranged flowers and greenery. “We got together last night with all of our accessories, put them out on a table with a bottle of wine, and this is what we came up with,” Chan’s friend Heidi Holzer said.

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Boardwalk near Lake Katherine proposed

A new plan for Palos Heights’ gateway features a boardwalk, restaurants, retailers, condos and a boutique hotel — all within eyesight of Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens and a waterfall.

Preliminary plans for the development on the northeast corner of Route 83 and Harlem Avenue gained unanimous approval last week from the Planned Unit Development Commission. They call for six to eight restaurants (46,000 square feet), several retail spots, a boutique hotel (38,400 square feet) and a four-story condominium building with 32 units (also 38,400 square feet). There would be about 400 parking spaces, some of them underground.

The adjacent boardwalk would be 35 to 40 feet wide and made of concrete topped with a cement board stained to resemble a real boardwalk. A stoplight would be added at Route 83 east of Harlem Avenue .

“We needed a feature … something where folks could come as a destination,” said Charles Allenson, a consultant representing the developer, Harlem 83 LLC in Chicago, which has a contract to buy the property. “All we had to do is look out the back door and we saw Lake Katherine.”

Allenson said the development, which is being called “The Boardwalk,” would take advantage of the lake’s beauty and could attract customers from throughout the region.

John Livaditis, managing partner of the development and an investor in several restaurant groups, said eateries could include barbecue and Mexican, Roots Pizza, and an organic bakery/diner.

“We’re really trying to hit that middle tier,” said Livaditis. “Part of what we also envision is creating a community center where we can host (culinary) events.”

He said retailers might include beauty salons, shoe stores or art galleries. The boardwalk and other outdoor features could attract dog walkers, who might stop for lunch, he said.

“It’s a breathtaking view,” Livaditis said. “You’re not going to get that at the Orland mall.”

While nearby green space owned by Lake Katherine is a selling point, any clean-up or changes in that property would need to be discussed with Lake Katherine representatives.

“I can guarantee everyone Lake Katherine will remain the same,” said Jean Gnap, a board member and former alderman. “We’re not landscaping Lake Katherine for this development, but if they have some ideas to help out, that’s fine,” she said of keeping the preserve property “natural.”

The hotel would be a “great partner for Lake Katherine,” which often holds educational events, she said.. Several members of the commission said the hotel also would offer a place for visitors to Trinity Christian College, Palos Community Hospital and elsewhere.

The property has been vacant since a car dealership moved out more than a decade ago. Previous developers who have presented plans ended up backing out after public opposition and difficulties finding tenants because of the weak economy.

About 40 residents attended the commission meeting and most seemed enthusiastic about the proposal.

“We’re really excited about some of the concepts that are presented here,” said resident Bob Grossart, who chairs the Economic Development Advisory Committee. “The property has been vacant for 15 years and I think it’s time now we should do something about it.”

Several residents who live near the site said they were concerned about noise, safety and flooding.

“This is a good community, but if this goes through, we are not going to have our quiet community,” said William Moran. “As a citizen, I don’t want it.”

Frank Radochonski, longtime owner of Pop’s eatery, said he “loved the look,” but was worried about the competition.

“I think you ought to consider what it’s going to do to other restaurants in the city,” he said..

The next step is for the developer to work out details, including engineering, signs, landscaping and access. Allenson said those plans could be presented to the city council in June. If approved, construction could begin later this year and be completed in 2015.

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Design firm envisions Greensboro Performing Arts Center as building to promote … – Winston

GREENSBORO — H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture plays a starring role in performing arts centers around the country.

Founded by renowned architect Hugh Hardy, the New York firm and its two predecessors have designed dozens of arts venues over five decades.

In the past two years alone, H3 has produced an award-winning black-box performance space atop New York’s Lincoln Center Theatre, a new building at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and a Brooklyn home for the Theatre for a New Audience.

“The performing arts are kind of the backbone of our practice,” H3 partner Geoff Lynch said from its Manhattan office.

He had just returned from Colorado Springs, where H3 plans a visual and performing arts center at the University of Colorado.

Soon Lynch will come to Greensboro, where H3 will apply its talents to the planned $65 million Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts.

H3 rose to the top when a community task force pondered a list of potential designers.

Hardy firms have tackled such high-profile projects as renovations at Radio City Music Hall, New Amsterdam Theatre and New Victory Theater in New York.

“There’s not a firm in the last 50 years that has had more involvement with building performing arts centers,” said Walker Sanders, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, which is partnering with the city on the project.

Tanger Center planners aim to open it in mid- to late 2016 on land bordered by North Elm and East Lindsay streets and Summit Avenue. It will connect to the planned Carolyn and Maurice LeBauer City Park.

Greensboro Coliseum Director Matt Brown, who will manage the Tanger Center, is preparing contracts to be reviewed by the City Council and a committee of private donors, who have pledged more than $35 million to the project, Sanders said. The council expects to consider the design contract in May.

Once H3 receives a contract, it will dive into design details.

Lynch came to Greensboro in October 2012 for a public work session called a charrette. H3 drew on public feedback to create preliminary ideas.

They envision a building of about 100,000 square feet, with a 3,000-seat theater to host touring Broadway shows, concerts and comedians, and local events including Greensboro Symphony concerts.

To Lynch and H3 project architect Mercedes Armillas, it represents more than a theater.

“By working on these buildings,” Lynch said, “you feel that you are not just creating a great place for a show, but that you are building a great community, building lively streets, building downtown, adding restaurants and street life to neighborhoods.”

He and Armillas point to the transformation of the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Hardy and H3 have done work over nearly 25 years.

“There’s a nightlife, there are new restaurants, there is activity on the street, there are cultural events all over,” Armillas said.

In 2012, the Brooklyn Academy of Music opened the Hardy-designed Richard B. Fisher Building. The seven-story, $50 million building includes a 250-seat auditorium, rehearsal studio, classrooms, green roof garden and offices.

Then last fall, Theatre for a New Audience opened its $40 million Polonsky Shakespeare Center nearby, with a 299-seat Elizabethan courtyard-style theater for Shakespeare and classic drama.

“It has flexibility to support six or seven stage and seating configurations, which means that for a smallish theater like ours, we are not locked into one configuration,” Managing Director Dorothy Ryan said.

Its subscriber base has tripled. “There is typically a ‘honeymoon’ when you open a new facility because everyone wants to see it,” Ryan said by email. “So I don’t know if these numbers will be sustained, but we are off to a very good start.”

Lincoln Center in Manhattan long has bustled with performing arts and patrons. But it lacked a small theater for emerging playwrights and more intimate performances.

H3 designed the 112-seat Claire Tow Theatre complex to sit above Vivian Beaumont Theatre — literally. The $42 million project won a state award from the American Institute of Architects.

They didn’t build it directly on the roof.

“It was like creating a bridge, almost, above the existing building,” Armillas said. “It was quite an interesting challenge to do that in the middle of New York City.”

The Tanger Center’s challenges are not quite as dramatic.

Its requirements “are very much a combination of many other projects,” Armillas said. “It doesn’t fit any one mold but is more of a hybrid of so much that we have done in the past.”

They want to create a building that will promote activity all day, not just for a few hours at night.

The lobby’s design will be key to the building’s success, Lynch said. He envisions a glass wall opening onto a three-story lobby that can be used for corporate and school events, educational activities and parties.

“We want it to be not just a great place to walk into a half-hour before the show, or have a drink at intermission,” Lynch said. “It will be this great public place and an indoor-outdoor space, so that outdoor space and the lobby feel like one place.”

A giant video screen on the building’s exterior could project indoor performances. An exterior plaza could be used for festivals.

Inside will be the 3,000-seat theater, with some seats removable to accommodate smaller audiences and certain events.

Seats will be divided among the orchestra or main level, a grand tier or lower balcony and a balcony.

The sight lines need to allow patrons who watch a symphony concert, a lecture, a Broadway or comedy show to “feel like they are close to the stage,” Lynch said.

“Finding ways to make this hall very flexible, that can be transformed in a night or just a few days … will be one of the challenges,” he added.

H3 will collaborate with other theatrical, acoustical, engineering, architectural, construction, cost estimating and landscaping companies — and with designers for LeBauer Park.

“We look forward to getting started,” Lynch said.

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Kids not overlooked at Landscape & Garden Fair

Kids' activities

Kids’ activities

A variety of free children’s activities will be available at the 3rd Annual Central Florida Landscape Garden Fair.

Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 6:00 am

Kids not overlooked at Landscape Garden Fair

Staff Report


The upcoming Central Florida Landscape Garden Fair is a family-friendly weekend event, featuring not only expert gardening classes for adults, but a range of educational activities for children.

Free children’s activities include the Children’s Passport, a seed necklace craft and entrance into the butterfly garden, maze and five senses area, Elisha Pappacoda, a county public information officer, said in a press release.

Kids under 16 may complete the Children’s Passport by stopping at the six designated locations on the event’s program map. After visiting each garden, they can exchange the completed passport for a free meal voucher from Chick-fil-A in Mount Dora.

“The Central Florida Landscape Garden Fair is designed to be a fun, educational event for the entire family,” said Brooke Moffis, Residential Horticulture Agent.

The fair will be held May 3-4 at Discovery Gardens, located at the Lake County Agricultural Center, 1951 Woodlea Rd. in Tavares, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Discovery Gardens is nestled on over 4 acres behind the Lake County Agricultural Center and features 20 themed gardens, including a string of lush courtyards and six specially designed children’s gardens.

For adults, expert guest speakers will present on a variety of garden and landscape topics including native plants, edible plants, no-turf landscaping and geocaching.

The fair will also provide visitors an opportunity to browse and purchase goods from exhibitors specializing in landscaping, gardening, irrigation, fertilizer, composting and hardscapes.

For information or to register as a vendor or sponsor, contact Tina Chavez at 352-343-9647 or or visit


Monday, April 21, 2014 6:00 am.

| Location Tags:


Lake county

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Groups give gardening tips during drought at Fresno State

The Friends of the Madden Library and the Central Valley Water Awareness Committee will host “How to Make Your Garden Beautiful and Your Water Consumption Sensible During a Drought” on May 2 in the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State.

The event will be a prelude to the Water-Wise Plant event May 3 and will begin with a reception with appetizers and a beer and wine bar at 6 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. The program begins at 6:45 p.m. Parking is free.

RSVP by April 30 to with code LIBWATER. For more information, call Sharon Ramirez at (559) 278-5790 or

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6679 or

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The right bulbs for now; and when beetles invade

What to do in the garden this week? Here are a few tips.

Don’t cultivate the soil until you can squeeze it in your fist and have it break apart easily when you open your hand. If it remains in a tight mud ball, the soil is too wet to work. Finish cleanup; fertilize shrubs, trees, and emerging bulb foliage; sow peas; apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control when yellow forsythia is in bloom, but don’t combine it with lawn seeds, or it will kill those, too. Corn gluten is the organic alternative for weed control.

Continue reading below

Q. I didn’t get a chance to plant bulbs last fall, but I notice a lot of stores, including supermarkets, are selling bulbs now. Are they to be planted now? Will they actually bloom this spring?

A. Familiar spring blooming bulbs such as tulips and daffodils are planted in the fall. The bulbs you see for sale now are different. They bloom in late summer and fall. They include cannas, dahlias, and gladiolus. They are not cold hardy and should be planted outdoors in late May. If you want to enjoy them next year, you have to dig up these bulbs in October and store them indoors for the winter. Lilies can be planted in either spring or fall. They are summer blooming and winter hardy and for sale now, too. Unfortunately they have a bad pest: the red lily leaf beetle. But if you want to try lily bulbs, plant them as soon as you buy them.

Q. I have two well established foundation rhododendron shrubs on the west side of my house. I noticed last weekend that many of the leaves — on one particularly — have “cuts” on them, it looks like someone took a pair of scissors and cut out pieces. I used Wilt-Pruf in the fall and the leaves look healthy with many, many buds. They are not brown, yellow, or wilted and I can see no sign of insects on the underside of the leaves. I also mulch my gardens. Any thoughts on the cause?

A. Your rhododendrons are probably under attack from black vine beetles. These half-inch-long, flightless insects eat notches in leaf edges at night and hide in leaf litter during the day. Their immature larvae live underground and eat rhody roots. They are resistant to insecticides, which instead kill their main natural predator, the ground beetle, so don’t spray. Instead, prune foliage so it does not touch the ground or bridge to other surfaces and place an unclimbable barrier (plastic coated with Tanglefoot, grease, or Teflon) on the main trunk to prevent adults climbing to feed on foliage. You could also introduce another of their predators, microscopic beneficial nematodes. You can find nematodes at Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton or online at Follow the directions before release, including deeply watering the soil.

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Gardening tips for Springtime

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Recent warmer temperatures mean many people are heading outside to plant flowers and vegetables.

Dave Huth, sales manager at Bennett’s Greenhouse in Lafayette, says after the long winter it’s a good idea to do some cleanup and pruning of plants. It’s also good to fertilize those dormant plants.

He says now is the time to plant lilies and pansies, shrubs and trees, and grass seed. Vegetables like beets, cauliflower, and cabbage can all be planted now, but he says it’s too early to start planting things like geraniums and tomato plants.

“People (have) been tired of the long cold winter. They’re interested in buying those kinds of things. It’s too early to plant the things that can’t take a frost,” said Huth.

While April showers may bring May flowers, Huth says it’s still important to help your plants out by turning on your sprinklers to supplement rainfall.

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