Our Town: An unmoveable feast — our town

Dr Tom Ferraro

The one and only time I saw God was on a walk around my neighborhood a few years ago.  

There is a home down the street that has the most amazing irises that enter full bloom at the beginning of spring. 

Hundreds of them stand there right along the sidewalk and as I stroll by each morning the perfume they send off makes you dizzy with its sweetness. One day I bent down to take a deeper whiff and to look inside. 

I don’t know if you ever looked inside of an iris but its beauty is breathtaking. And right then and there I said that if such beautiful exists there must be a God. 

I no longer live in Williston Park but I work here. In fact I spend the bulk of my waking hours here either in my office or walking up and down Hillside.  

I am very aware of the look of our downtown commercial center and the look of the homes here.  

Last week I was traveling along Prospect Street when I noticed an amazing French garden at the corner of Campbell and Prospect. The garden had a virtual explosion of roses, day lilies, daisies, rhododendrons and more.  I immediately thought to myself I ought to establish an annual Gorgeous Garden Award given to our town’s most special garden. 

Not too long ago a reader called me and suggested a piece about the gardens of Williston Park so here it is.

The GGA (Gorgeous Garden Award) will not have a panel and will not have an articulated criterion. Just me and my impressions as I drive around the town and take in the ‘curb appeal’ of each home.  

I wondered if I would find more gardens like this one on Prospect and hoped that I would. What I did find was that almost all the homes are well tended and well cared for.  

Homeowners have large lawns and small gardens which mostly consist of shrubs and some trees. There is an occasional fence, either natural wood, painted wood or PVC.  There was an occasional man tending to his sprinkler and looking concerned about the heat. 

Some streets had those big oak, maple or Sycamore which gave the street more charm and intimacy and shade.  Some driveways had been redone in brick. Some homes, actually many homes have been upgraded and enlarged.  All in all it’s a nice looking place with enough stop signs to keep cars from going too fast.

But I did not see another wild French garden to match the one on Prospect.  

Indeed we are not Carmel-by-the-Sea with its fairy tale cottages and its Monterrey Cypress. 

True we do not have courtyards and passages ways that make our commercial zone more magical. Maybe someday but not yet. 

What we do have are good citizens that care about their homes and gardens and downtown zone. 

I remember once helping Dr. Nancy Breitbarth and the Beautification Committee plant all those flowers and plants along Hillside Avenue. 

And I see the owners to the Williston Townhouse Diner plant flowers and install a waterfall in front of the restaurant. I see La Marmite give us that pretty landscaping and wonderful looking sign. I see this family on Prospect give us an explosion of colors and beauty for us to feast on.  

What we have here is not a moveable feast as Hemingway had after leaving Paris. 

This is not a movable feast, this is our town and  its character and charm, its magic and grace may be the most important things we have.  

I once worked in Brooklyn when East New York was dangerous and filled with rats and drug addicts. That was what hell looked like.  

I once visited Carmel-by-the-Sea and I know what heaven looks like too. Williston Park is somewhere in between. 

Every athlete wants to win a trophy, every man a bigger paycheck, every woman wants to have finer love and every town wants to become more itself and better.  

All things are trying to expand,  to grow, become stronger, more beautiful and more alluring. This may be the basic law of the universe. If you don’t believe me read one of history’s greatest thinkers, Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil. 

So I am pleased to give the first GGA to that pretty home on Prospect Street with its wild and every growing French garden. 

Congratulations and thanks for those flowers. 

About the author

Dr Tom Ferraro

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