Who let the dogs out at Macy's? Who's hiding behind the 1
million flowers in Macy's forest of flowers? Could
Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein be secretly hidden in Macy's?
14, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 579
Flower Power Blooms
Despite Weeds Of War
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Apr. 14--As the weeds of war die in
the deserts of Iraq, flower power is blooming at Macy's, a sign that
life exists after death.
Annual World Flower Show at Macy's
At least, that's how I felt yesterday when
I walked into the 29th Annual World Flower Show at Macy's department
store in New York City and was greeted by more than one million
blooming flowers representing 30,000 species from six continents.
After months of saber rattling about war
with Iraq, and then a swift and efficient past month of combat, war
and all its stress and strain has taken a heavy toll on many.
Pro and anti American rallies forced many divisions within and without
America, pitting people
against one another.
Then came the glut of news.
Twenty-four hours a day, war news hailed down on millions.
The world was the inundated with liberation photos of Saddam statues being torn down, and
a sigh of relief that perhaps the war was over--at least the first
For each person, I assume, something
punctuates the beginning and end of any major event. For me, the
period put behind the "war in Iraq" came this past Sunday via a number
First, was the release of seven P.O.W.s,
the five taken with Pfc. Jessica Lynch plus two Apache helicopter
pilots. It was a great feeling to know they were all safe.
Second was the 29th Annual Macy's Flower
Show and Petacular.
It was Palm Sunday, and following church,
our family planned a trip up to Herald Square to see Macy's Petacular.
Petacular is a fun event held in front of
Macy's each year designed for kids and families to kick off spring.
People bring their pets--dogs, cats, turtles, pigs, birds--and dress
them up in costumes. The animals are judged for the
cleverness and creativity of their costumes by celebrity judges.
The host of the Petacular, a giant bumble bee, describes each pet to
the cheers of the kids and parents.
was a lot like Doggy Disneyland
It was a lot like Doggy Disneyland.
For a few moments you forgot about a war, and the looting and sniping
still going on in a troubled land thousands of miles away. You
forgot about the looming issue of Syria harboring fugitives from Iraq,
or Kim Jong Il's missiles pointing toward Japan and his ability to
make nuclear bomb-rich plutonium. You forgot about
SARS and the potential epidemic from Asia working its way to the U.S.
You even forgot--momentarily--that in just a couple of days the
biggest Terrorist of them all--Tax Day--was coming, and the
government's hand would be stuffed deep into your pocket.
The Flying Nun
was the Grand Prize Winner at the Petacular
All those issues found no room to roost as
I watched the faces of my grandchildren fixed on a dog dressed to look
like a flying nun, and another garbed out in Marilyn Monroe frills,
and a pot-bellied pig rooting on the stage, followed by a hamster with
a cute hat, and coiffed cats trying to look sedate with the smell of
canines keeping their claws coiled.
I cruised through the crowds, watching the
young children slack-jawed as the animals and adults paraded
themselves on a riverboat stage setting, replete with red and white
paddle wheeler tooting its horn whenever one of the prize categories
benefited the Animal Haven Animal Shelter
Contributions were made to the Animal Haven Animal Shelter by
attendance at an earlier breakfast (barkfest) for pets and owners.
Two major blocks were shut down for the
event in front of Macy's for a host of different fun stations for the
kids. The Magic School bus was there, part of Discovery Learning
and Scholastic's effort to make learning fun for kids.
and Liz with their Magic School Bus
Ms. Frizzle and her sidekick Liz, the lizard, were
on hand to make the fantasy come to life.
Giant lobsters, lions and kangaroos
made the kids giggle and feel as though the entire world was designed
for them. The sounds of war were far distant, muted,
muffled from their innocent ears.
The only glitch was when the grand
winner of the Petacular was announced a loud bang resounded, a sound
not unlike that of a gunshot. For a moment my instincts
were to dive on top of my grandchildren to shield them, wary that
Macy's must be under some Terrorist attack.
guns startled the crowd
But it was only the sound of confetti
guns going off, spewing into the air tens of thousands of chunks of
brightly colored paper that flipped and fluttered down, covering the
kids and streets in a palette of spring colors.
Once the Petacular ended, and
the last dog got its trophy, the emphasis turned from the outside of
Macy's to its century-old insides.
Founded in 1902, Macy's was the first
of its kind department store. It still maintains the
role of world leader in that arena.
Each Spring for the past 29 years it
has launched an annual flower show, and this year was no different.
Inside the store, the first floor is
host to a massive forest of flowers.
The 100,000 square-foot space
utilizes just about every available flat inch of space for flowers and
plants--one million in all, representing 30,000 different species.
Above the Chanel perfume displays is a daffodil garden. In the
Clinique section small Japanese pines dotted by pastel flowers adorn
Liz Claiborne's marketing arena
was turned into a botanical garden of color as was Kenneth Cole.
stopper flower globe
At the main entrance was the
show stopper. It was a 7-foot topiary globe made entirely
of flowers--more than 5,000 azaleas, kalanchoes and African violets.
The globe turned slowly and I kept looking for where Iraq was, and
whether the flowers there were blood colored. Then I tried to
find North Korea, and Syria, and then I stopped and just admired the
beauty of the flowers and the magic of imagination.
In the publicity on the
flowers, Matt Horn, owner of Matterhorn Nurseries who tend the
flowers, says he comes each day to inspect the flowers for any that
are "failing." If some are "failing," then they are
given nutrients or, if necessary, replaced.
I thought of Matt Horn's job as
He tends 100,000 "bodies," and
when there are problems he controls "life" over "death."
In a way, he is the Tommy Franks of Macy's, the "Flower General" who
decides who is strong and who is weak, who will survive and who will
Of course, I'm being harsh on
Matt Horn. He might not appreciate the comparison between
a plant's life and a human life, but to some, there isn't much
difference. Both, they claim, deserve the same respect.
But then I had too much war on
I had this vision of Matt Horn
as the Sentinel of Vigilance, guarding against the Beast of Terror who
stalks the flowers, trying to weaken them so they sag or turn brown or
infect others. I knew a little about gardening.
There are Terrorists--aphids, for example--that can attack plants
especially roses with a vicious intent.
Vigilance, knowing Terrorism
exists and preempting its assault, holds the enemy at bay. I
figured that Matt Horn's job was to keep the Beast of Flower Terror
away from Macy's, and at night when the store closed, his steps could
be heard marching throughout the store hunting down the Terror, or
potential Terror, so that Macy's would be free of suicide aphids and
other weapons of plant destruction (WPD).
As I tossed these
thoughts around, I began to laugh.
Yes, I had had too much
Instead of thinking about
Terrorism and Vigilance, I thought about just walking down the aisles
of Macy's and soaking up the beauty.
hiding in and enjoying Macy's flowers too?
Oh, did I try. But
whenever I did try not to think about combative thoughts and made a
concerted effort to only see the beauty of plants and flowers and the
wonderful aroma of spring and life, I kept seeing faces in the leaves.
Behind this plant or that bud,
I was sure I caught a glimpse of a face.
No. I didn't want to
But, I just couldn't help it.
Yes, there it was. The
face of Osama bin Laden behind an azalea.
No, it was the face of Saddam
Were they both here at Macy's?
Ah, I knew I'd seen too much,
thought too much, and written too much about the battle with
13--Frozen Moments Of Terrorism
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