Editorial: Public forests and parks are key to bringing us together

As an immigrant from Jamaica, I yearned for the experience of Hope Gardens on Sundays, or Sunday afternoon drives when “Brother Reggie” piled all the children in the open back of his truck and took us exploring the countryside. We dressed up for Sundays at the botanical gardens where young and old went to relax and stroll among the exotic blooms, or lie on manicured lawns under lofty Royal Palms soaking up the ambience.

Newly arrived in Rockland County, upstate New York I craved similar experiences. I went to Bear Mountain my first fall and had my mind completely blown by the vastness and variety of colors on the trees! I’d seen postcards but had no idea such scenes could be real. Every year I organized a Memorial Day picnic in a park, even if it was still snowing.

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