Dear Friends of Untermyer Gardens:
A number of years ago, I had lunch with one of the most prominent philanthropists in New York City. He jokingly referred to an interesting critique of the nonprofit world: OPM.
OPM means Other People's Money. Not a few organizations spend precious resources on swanky offices, generous expense accounts, elaborate year-end reports, etc. They can afford it because they are spending Other People's Money.
No one could call the Untermyer Gardens Conservancy's digs plush. Charles Birnbaum wrote in the Huffington Post that the "Conservancy, operating out of a one-room office...has engineered a Lazarus-like resurrection of this great site." Our "conference room" is a small round table surrounded by three desks, all donated. We are lean and mean, without even a closet, leading to some creative storage solutions.
We just took possession of 5,000 annual seedlings, which are now being nurtured in the municipal greenhouse. They will form the basis of the ever-changing plantings along the canals in the Walled Garden each year. The selection is a deeply held secret, which will be revealed to all in May, when the tulips are removed.
Stephen F. Byrns
President, Untermyer Gardens Conservancy
P.S. As this goes to press, the world has just learned of the death of David Rockefeller at age 101. I met him a year ago at Untermyer Gardens, which he was interested to tour. As you may recall, Welles Bosworth designed the house and garden at Kykuit and was very close to John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Samuel Untermyer hired Bosworth in 1916 to "outdo" the Rockefellers, something that gave Mr. Rockefeller a chuckle on our tour! Here is a picture of us that day.