Dear Reader:

I work at the Spertus Museum of Judaica, on Michigan Avenue between Harrison and Balbo. We’re next to Columbia College and across from Grant Park. A few weeks ago at work three of my coworkers and I went across the street to Grant Park during lunchtime to play Frisbee. The tulips had just bloomed a few days beforehand, the weather was beautiful, and many people were eating lunch on the grass–the park was looking fine. The four of us were running around throwing our Frisbee and getting sweaty, and every once in a while one of us would accidentally throw the Frisbee into the tulip bed and then we would gingerly step around the tulips to get it out. This went on for about an hour or so until lunch was over. At 1 PM we began to head over to the tulip bed where we had left our things, coinciding with the arrival of the Park District who immediately descended upon the tulip bed and began uprooting the tulips and throwing them on the grass. The four of us ran over shouting “What are you doing? These tulips just bloomed! Why are you doing this?” at the workers, whose kind reply was “We’re going to plant new flowers.”

“But these tulips just bloomed,” we protested, “what are you going to do with these flowers?”

“We’re going to throw them away,” was the answer. Meanwhile the piles of tulips were growing higher and higher.

“Can we take these tulips?” we screeched at the workers, who nodded their agreement. The next second the four of us were in the dirt pulling up armfuls of flowers as fast as we could. And the next second the whole park descended upon the tulip bed and began pulling up flowers. And the next second people began literally streaming out of my museum and Columbia College with bags, piling in tulips bulbs and all.

Eventually my arms were too full with tulips to hold any more and I went inside. At 1:30 PM I looked out the window and people were still running out to the tulip bed with empty bags. Meanwhile my office looked like a florist’s. There were buckets of tulips by everyone’s desk and tulips stuffed in vases on top of everything. The only worker with a yard to plant flowers went home with over $100 worth of tulip bulbs–and that was just one tulip bed we saved. Tulips were being uprooted all over Grant Park that day. So I think this is a little ridiculous.