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9/11 Families To Plant 10,000 Daffodil Bulbs at Brooklyn Bridge

By Julie Shapiro | October 20, 2011 2:24pm | Updated on October 20, 2011 3:58pm

LOWER MANHATTAN — A sea of yellow flowers will blanket a small park at the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge next spring, as an annually blooming memorial to 9/11.

Family members of 9/11 victims will gather there this Sunday to plant 10,000 daffodil bulbs, a number chosen to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

"It's a way to take something that is obviously a very difficult aspect of your life and turn it into a positive experience," said Jennifer Adams, CEO of the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, which is sponsoring the event.

"People can come together and form a peer community of support."

The planting is part of New Yorkers for Parks' Daffodil Project, which started after 9/11 and has placed more than 4 million daffodil bulbs in parks across New York City.

The 10,000 new daffodil bulbs will go in a small triangular park at Centre Street and Park Row, just south of the Brooklyn Bridge's pedestrian walkway. The space is sometimes known as "Memorial Park" because it has three trees that survived the World Trade Center collapse and one that survived the Oklahoma City bombing, explained Meredith Ledlie, outreach coordinator for New Yorkers for Parks.

"Some 9/11 family members go there to reflect already, so we thought it was a good match," Ledlie said.

Adams said she also saw the planting as a way of giving back to the lower Manhattan community, which has endured many disruptions during the past 10 years, including the influx of traffic that accompanied the opening of the 9/11 Memorial last month.

"We wanted to do something to make Downtown a beautiful place," Adams said.

The Daffodil Project started in November 2001, when Hans van Waardenburg, a Dutch bulb supplier, donated 500,000 daffodil bulbs as a way of giving New Yorkers a physical reminder of the rebirth that can follow tragedy.

The project grew quickly, with more than 20,000 people ultimately helping to plant bulbs in dozens of parks and open spaces, Ledlie said.

The choice of a daffodil — one of the heartiest of bulbs, which spreads on its own once it's planted — was not made lightly.

"The daffodil was chosen because squirrels don't eat them, and also because yellow is the traditional color of memorials," Ledlie said.

"They also nod in the breeze, and if you look closely at them, it looks as though they're bowing their heads. They look very pensive."

Family members of 9/11 victims or Downtown residents who were affected by 9/11 who would like to participate in the Oct. 23 planting can contact RSVP@TributeWTC.org for more information.