Monday, October 25, 2010

Not-So-Funkin

One of the pleasures of being a freelance writer is that I can make my own schedule (a true luxury, I assure you). So, if I decide that I'd rather go to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) on a Friday afternoon than brave the weekend crowds, I can. And having a freelance photographer for a boyfriend, he can come along, which is exactly what we did this past Friday.

I'm on the press release list for NYBG, and I'm frequently intrigued by the garden's offerings. The recent press push for the Halloween Hoorah, foretold three of the largest pumpkins in the region -- which were present and impressive -- and over 500 carved pumpkins. Seeking inspiration and playing hooky, we braved the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and journey to the Bronx.

Ladies and gentlemen, your humble author was dismayed to discover that the New York Botanical Garden’s “intricately carved” pumpkins were all fake! (See above.) A jack-o-lantern enthusiast, I had been tempted to view the work of a true pumpkin-carving artist, only to discover display after display of styrofoam Funkins.

A representative from the garden told me, “A majority of the installation are Funkins so that the installation is preserved for families to enjoy throughout October,” which is understandable, but there really wasn’t a single carved, live pumpkin on the premises. I can appreciate the convenience of a Funkin -- I have used them on many occasions for magazine shoots, but in a garden, one expects life, does one not?

I know Martha Stewart has always been a big supporter of the Botanical Garden, perhaps she could send some of her crafty staffers up to imbue the garden with a little live plant matter next fall? If not, I personally volunteer to carve a handful of live pumpkins for the New York Botanical Garden so that our city's youth can see a real live vegetable.

Below, are some snapshots of the living things we saw at the Garden: Signs of this glorious northeastern fall weather.






2 comments:

jen jafarzadeh said...

wow, that's a disappointment! I guess it does make sense but you'd think they'd at least have a few real pumpkins. Funkins look great in photos, but they are such obvious fakes in person.

ann said...

Hi Laura - We're so sorry that you were disappointed by the funkins. I do hope that you were able to come see the enormous real pumpkins that *were* in residence here at the Garden just a few days after your visit. One was the new World Record holder for heaviest pumpkin and the other two were the runners up, and yep, we carved them!

As my colleague noted, we used the funkins because we wanted to be able to offer a fun experience for our visitors without having to redo the work over and over. The pumpkins were designed and carved by Michael Anthony Natiello who also carves the funkins for the amazing Blaze at the Van Cortlandt Manor.

We did in fact grow many, many pumpkins in our gardens this year, too, and were used in many ways.

In the future, please feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the Garden at any time.

All the best,
Ann Rafalko
Director of Online Content
www.nybg.org

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