Honor someone you care by endowing a tree in Central Park. Learn more here.
With an extra-firm handshake and a sharp, dry wit, Dutch Allen isn't the sort of person who comes to mind when you think of a sentimentalist. But there are gifts so perfect and thoughtful that they'll make anyone sentimental.
For his 80th birthday, Dutch's daughter, Julie, endowed a tree in Central Park in his honor. "Nobody but Julie could have thought of this for me," Dutch said, looking at the tree. "I can't imagine a better way to celebrate a relationship between two people." In addition to selecting a tree to endow, the gift is recognized with a personalized, engraved granite paving stone on Literary Walk, located at the southern end of the Mall.
Julie said that when she found out she could endow a tree in the Park, she expected "some scrawny little thing, hidden away somewhere." Instead, led on a tour by Neil Calvanese, the Conservancy's Vice President for Operations and a tree expert, Dutch selected a grand, weeping Silver Linden at the southwestern slope of the Great Lawn oval. The tree, almost exactly the same age as Dutch, is right next to ballfield #1, where he used to play softball.
It's the sort of tree that people stop to admire. On multiple occasions, Julie has overheard passersby appreciating the Silver Linden. Each time she tells them proudly, "That's my dad's tree."
When she was considering an 80th birthday gift, Julie thought that anything material would be too insubstantial. "He's the roots of my family, so endowing a tree seemed appropriate," Julie said. "It turned out to be so much more special than I had imagined."
Central Park is woven into the Allen family's history. Forty years ago, Dutch and his wife, Margo, held their wedding reception at Tavern on the Green. When Julie was a teenager, she came to the Park every weekend with her father and her brother to play volleyball and Margo would come to watch. "The Park is a lot nicer now than it was then," Julie observed.
When Julie's daughter, Callie, was born, Julie, Dutch, and Margo took her out on weekly walks in the Park and brunches at the Boathouse. Dutch is glad that his daughter and granddaughter will have such a special way to remember him. "Years from now, Callie can point and say 'That's Pop-Pop's tree.'"