The River Cafe, Brooklyn, NY

Hurricane Sandy has done such harm.  Many lives were lost, homes destroyed, business devastated and natural beauty permanently altered.  Living in the West it is hard to grasp just how much damage this area of our country has received.  I was in New York last fall and as I read today’s news I recognize areas where I visited.  An article in the NYTimes (11/11/2012) described the damage done to “The River Cafe” in Brooklyn.  This 35 year old restaurant is an icon of elegant, formal dinning.  This is where one went for very special dinner occasions, such as marriage proposals, significant birthdays and anniversary celebrations.  According to the Times article one evening not long ago 7 couples were each celebrating their 25th anniversary in the dining room.


The damage described by the article described nearly total devastation of the restaurant, the water level reached 4’ , refrigerators were toppled, the wine collection floated away, a new Steinway grand piano was destroyed.  The restaurant is closed indefinitely, 100 employees are out of work.

Now I did not dine at this elegant eatery but I did explore their beautiful gardens.  How many restaurants have a Director of Flowers & Gardens?  The River Cafe does.  Flowers in the dining room, and flowers and trees around the property are especially important in this city of tall buildings and sidewalks.  Wisteria, honey locust trees and pure white impatiens were only a few of the plants in starring roles when I visited there.

This garden was the scene of many small yet elegant weddings.  Located on the river, under the Brooklyn Bridge the garden provided a skyline view of Manhattan.   This was a beautiful garden.

As a result of the severe storms, both Hurricane Sandy and the wild Nor’easter which followed soon after, the garden has been ravaged by wind and water and then frosted with cold and snow.  By focusing on one single familiar spot I am able to feel a tiny degree of the pain of loss so many are faced with as they struggle to rebuild their lives and their gardens.

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