The weather deceives us, but spring 2012 has arrived. Across the borough, residents contend with awful allergies as pollen thickens the air. Adults and children alike appear as zombies, sniffling and sneezing their ways through the day. Tissues and nasal sprays fly off the shelves at a fever pace, providing temporary relief for our sinuses and making us wonder if we will ever be able to emerge from our sickbeds again.

Still, Bay Ridge, a neighborhood so rich with beautiful outdoor spaces, entices its residents out of doors. As the weather grows warmer, the green of Owls Head Park and the Narrows Botanical Gardens beckons us forth, as we ignore the risk of watery eyes, endless sneeze attacks and a nose redder than June roses. For Ridgeites, it has been a long enough winter, and the beautiful views of the Shore Road promenade are too beautiful miss.

On Friday, even the unseasonable chill of winter winds was not a deterrent for hundreds of locals who gathered to watch the space shuttle fly overhead. By 9:00 a.m., gaggles of Ridgeites lined the shore, waiting for a glimpse of the historic event.

My students and I were among those waiting and shivering until the magnificent aircraft passed, mounted on a 747. The sight is one my students will not soon forget, a truly amazing Bay Ridge moment to tell their kids and grandkids about one day.

Although some Ridgeites had to watch the shuttle’s arrival from elsewhere, there will be plenty more opportunities to take advantage of the great outdoors in our home locale. This spring and summer, the Narrows Botanical Gardens has tons of events planned, to draw crowds into the beautiful green space.

This weekend, the gardens will hold a plant sale on May 5, just in time for Mother’s Day. The sale will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering a huge variety of indoor and outdoor plants for your spring planting. The rain date for this event will be May 6.

In celebration of the beautiful parks of the Ridge, the Narrows Botanical Gardens will also hold its annual “It’s My Park Day” on May 19. Each year, thousands of New Yorkers participate in the celebration, during which volunteers clean up their local parks in time for summer fun. The event will take place from noon to 5:30 p.m. For information on how to volunteer call 718-748-4810 or visit www.narrowsbg.org.

This month, brave those awful allergic ailments and emerge to one of Bay Ridge’s most beautiful oases. Your nose and throat will survive and you are sure to enjoy the view.

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