Corn shocker! Artist planted different grains in Canarsie!

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Boerum Hill’s corn field is truly a-maize-ing — but the artist responsible for the crop admitted this week that Canarsie, not Smith Street, got the most exclusive variety of grain.

In a mea culpa that could reverberate from the corner of Bergen Street to the corn belt, Christina Kelly revealed that she reserved her limited supply of Lenape blue flour corn for the project’s sister garden in Canarsie.

At the same time, we got a New York State blue flint corn of which Kelly had a more ample supply. The root of the matter came down to trust.

“I really thought the Boerum Hill garden would be vandalized — that someone might take a plant,” she said. “But nothing’s happened. I’m amazed. It’s not that I think the people of Boerum Hill are bad — it’s just the nature of the city.”

The Boerum Hill plot stands in an area cultivated by the Marechkawich Indians in the 17th century, and apparently our forebears knew what they were doing when they picked this spot.

Boerum Hill’s corn continues to far outpace Canarsie’s crop. The stalks have already clambered to three-and-a-half feet tall, and show no signs of slowing down, while Canarsie’s corn is about a foot shorter.

Kelly said the growth differential is likely a product of the sunlight each plot receives: The Boerum Hill plot soaks up to 12 hours a day, while the Canarsie plot only gets about eight hours, because it is shielded by a school.

Regardless, with enough peat moss, chicken compost, tender loving care and no vandalism, Kelly expects both plots to mature by the end of August.

But then, she will face her biggest challenge yet: hungry squirrels. Stay tuned …

To learn more about the project, go to

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018: Updated to add this editor's note: An original version of this story was marred by a minor error concerning the variety of heritage corn being planted at both locations. We regret — and, believe me, continue to regret — the error, but we feel it has been corrected. There is not a single media outlet that has been covering Christina Kelly's vital, important public artwork with the wall-to-wall coverage that we have provided. The coverage is justified because of the public's intense interest in this crucial partnership between Kelly and the Department of Transportation. We apologize for the error and hope it all works out. Bottom line? We don't know our corn varieties as well as we should. Sorry.
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Reasonable discourse

Sid from Boerum Hill says:
Just yesterday to my wife I commented that the corn at the corner of Smith and Bergen was high this year. LOL
July 2, 2010, 2:02 am
yogamom from boerum Hill says:
I love the corn installation. Its like a mini-town square right in the middle of Smith Street!
July 2, 2010, 3:20 pm
Howard Kolins from Boerum Hill says:
If that update is a correction, it seems very lame. Come back at harvest time to see the native corn.
July 2, 2010, 8:03 pm
Jane from Boerum Hill says:
I love the corn installation on smith street - it's so wildly unexpected. Corn that dogs can pee on - it's positively revolutionary.
People have grown corn for food - people have grown corn for industry - but no one has ever grown corn for no reason before.
Love it. Love to love it.
July 6, 2010, 8:18 am

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