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The Reynolds family integrated the Irish enclave of Inwood during the mid 60’s. The results of which, arguably, have greatly benefitted both the community of Inwood and the Parks Department. These benefits, recognized by many in the community, include social and enhanced horticultural esthetics.

During The Early 70’s

  • The area of Isham Park now known as Bruce’s Garden, named by former Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe 2002 after the passing of Bruce Reynolds 9/11, was the community dump site of choice.
  • A well established dog run of animal feces and sandy loam ran the garden’s length along Park Terrace East.
  • There was rampant vandalism and abuse in Isham Park. Gang activity transformed the park into fields of broken glass, burned park benches, indiscriminate paths and general negligence.
  • The stately 200+ year Ginkgo Tree was used as a prop for tree houses and was also feared to collapse onto Broadway due to its exposed root system.
  • The cul-de-sac at Park Terrace East’s southern end was a parking lot and devoid of greenery.
  • Transients took residence in the underbrush along the upper edge of the area now known as The Broadway Corridor.
  • The area adjacent to the Liffy II Bar, the northern most entrance to Isham Park on Broadway, was overgrown from neglect.

On each point, the Reynolds family provided the impetus for decisions made of city agencies to improve on the above.

  • Bruce’s Garden is now an oasis for neighbors and the community at large, converted under Mr. Reynolds’ supervision by his son Bruce with friends, recruited gang members, and countless community volunteers.
  • A sidewalk replaced the dog run due to Mrs. Reynolds’ involvement.
  • Mr. Reynolds, with other civic organizations, convinced the Parks Department to rehabilitate and restore Isham Park rather than abandon the area due to vandalism. This rehabilitative effort unfortunately was the catalyst in creating a ‘waterless’ park. Contractors covered the existing water system during the process and was never restored. Since that moment Mr. Reynolds has asked for water to be reinstated in Isham Park. It was a situation not to be corrected for close to 45 years.
  • The tree houses of the Ginkgo Tree were removed. Mr. Reynolds then enlisted landscaping specialists from Wave Hill and New York Botanical Gardens to better enclose and protect its root system insuring the trees’ stability. The Ginkgo Trees’ present day majesty is testament to Mr. Reynolds’ decades old effort.
  • GreenStreets on the cull-de-sac of Park Terrace East’s southern end is a direct result of Mr. Reynolds’ involvement.
  • Transient residences discontinued along the upper edge of The Broadway Corridor due to the underbrush being thinned under his direction.
  • Firefighters and numerous volunteers have worked for decades with Mr. Reynolds on the difficult area adjacent to the Liffy II Bar. It remains a work in process…
  • The Memorial Slope, positioned on the eastern edge of Park Terrace East’s cul-de-sac, honors all in the community of Inwood who fell 9/11. Dedicated November 2002 due to The Rotary Club of Upper Manhattan and Mr. Reynolds’ involvement.

This History, which spans a period close to half a century, has and is not being told.

The Stories Are Endless…

Each gang member who worked closely with Bruce, Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds is most appreciative of the intervention in their lives. Principles were developed. Horticultural information was learned and exchanged. Life long friendships were formed. To be sure, there are many such stories throughout this great city. It is important however, to perpetuate and make this one both acknowledged and known.

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