Way back in 2003 the City started a program called "Adopt-A-Park" through which people or companies could give money to a specific park in the city, be it for a bench, a tree, or even a stone on a pathway. The program, which you can sign up for here, has been wildly successful and so today the Times takes a nice look at who's been sponsoring what in the parks.
Normally we'd just linkdump a story like this onto this afternoon's extra, extra but the "awwww"-factor of the story's led was just too much:
On a hot afternoon in 1953, a 19-year-old named Anna and a girlfriend were eating homemade salami and prosciutto sandwiches at Orchard Beach in the Bronx, enjoying the sun.
Not far away, sitting on a blanket, a young man named Joseph and a friend hungrily eyed the food. Eventually, Joseph mustered the nerve to ask if the women were willing to share their lunch. They said yes.
In the case of the Aurichios, the plaque marking the couple's 50th wedding anniversary will be placed on a park bench this spring, and will read, "Anna Jakominich Aurichio and Joseph L. Aurichio fell in love here in 1953."
What's that face your making? That plaque too sappy for you? How's about this quote from the Song of Solomon Dr. Ruth picked for a bench she adopted in honor of her late husband? "My beloved has gone down to the garden to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to pick lilies."
In any event, on the other side of the issue, some people are worried that public sponsorships will give the government incentive to stop funding parks. Or at least to ignore the City's less "high profile" parks. Either way, we really like the program.
Photograph of Dr. Ruth Westheimer on her husband's bench by Andrea Mohin for the New York Times.