Hamilton Heights has a lot of trees, and they bear a fruit unique to the city. This is a man-made fruit, of a few varieties.
There are the brightly colored balloon fruits, like the one in the picture at the top of the post. I took this picture about two months ago, maybe more, when the fruit first appeared on 155th Street in front of the Prince Albert Hall Masonic temple.
They have withered away, but the remains are still up in the tree.
There are a lot of plastic sheet fruit, these are all over the place, and I’ve seen them on Broadway, on my block, on Amsterdam Avenue. But this tree on 133rd Street between Broadway and 12th Avenue has the most plastic sheets.
Also on this block is a whole row of newly planted trees with these cute little signs on them:
I know the balloons are easy to lose, a child wants to hold their big bundle of helium-filled balloons, and let go the minute they are distracted. So I understand the dozens of clutches of runaway balloons.
But the plastic sheets? Where do they come from?
Plastic bags are understandable. Even if one properly throws an empty plastic bag into a garbage can, the wind can easily rip it right out and send it on its way to the nearest tree.
Years ago I saw a movie, with Elliot Gould called Little Murders. Vincent Gardenia was also in it and it was pretty funny, if you think New York in the ‘70s was funny. Elliot Gould played a passive, depressed photographer who took pictures of dog shit. Taking pictures of garbage in trees is a step up, I think. While it’s still pictures of crap, the rubber and plastic draped in trees have a certain beauty to them, or at least I see some beauty in them. At least they didn’t make it to the ocean where some poor sea animal will swallow it and die.
I have concerns about the environment, and I wish I could see real fruit growing on the trees on my block.
My brother told me a funny story about one of my distant cousins in Mexico who made a living picking up the mangoes that fell from the mango trees on his street and selling them to tourists leaving the airport. He bought beer with the money. Too bad there’s not much call for acorns. The Trinity Church Cemetery down the block is covered with acorns in the fall. I could make a killing.
I wish I could do more besides make sure I dispose of plastic properly, I even take cloth shopping bags with me (my wife Danusia insists that I do) when I go shopping. And my nifty Whole Foods shopping cart. That saves on a few plastic shopping bags.
Fairway still uses the plastic bags. I heard San Francisco has outlawed plastic bags, but if we outlaw plastic bags, then more trees will have to be cut down to make more paper for paper bags. The Ying and the Yang of responsible living. It’s like, use artificial sweeteners, don’t use artificial sweeteners.
Eat broccoli and don’t get cancer.
Keep smoking and do get cancer. It gets a little too complicated for me.
So, what to do? I guess I’ll keep trying to do the best I can with what I am able to do, and not worry too much about the rest. And I’ll keep looking for beauty wherever I can find it, whether it is politically correct or not.