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Adopt-a-Pole Flower Baskets

A Manhasset Tradition

It’s time to submit your applications and payments for Manhasset’s annual Adopt-a-Pole program. In May, Alex Otis of Manhasset Florist will hang baskets of fresh red, white and blue flowers from light poles along Plandome Road. The Town of North Hempstead has kindly agreed to water the plants as needed. Alex shows last year’s crop to Diane Harragan, Coach Realtors, who has been coordinating the program for the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce for 10 years.

Part of Manhasset’s charm is that tradition is integral to many of its activities. A relatively new tradition was started in 1999 by the late Betsy Chesebrough in an effort to beautify Manhasset. Mrs. Chesebrough initiated the Adopt-a-Pole program that offers sponsorship opportunities for decorating light posts along Plandome Road. It was a simple idea, but brilliant. The three-fold result was that sponsors could have names engraved on a plaque on the pole, Plandome Road would be more attractive at key times during the year, and revenue would cover costs. Some sponsors appreciated the opportunity to name their stores and businesses on the plaques, others listed family names, while others honor the memories of family members or friends. Some sponsors joined with others to share the cost of one pole.

Sadly, Betsy Chesebrough passed away in 2003 but the successful Adopt-a-Pole program has been continued by Diane Harragan of Coach Realtors for the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce. Three years ago, Harragan began to use real flowers instead of silk flowers because she was able to enlist the support of the Town of North Hempstead (TONH) in the vital task of watering the flowers up high on the light posts. Next time you see TONH staff members watering the plants, notice how high they have to reach and you will appreciate how impossible this task would be without assistance from TONH.

Seasonal flowers and decorations are installed three times a year by local florists, adding beauty and lots of color to Plandome Road while also serving as a welcome to shop in local stores and businesses. In May, Alex Otis of Manhasset Florist arranges the planting of the baskets with red, white and blue flowers to complement the new American flags installed by the American Legion before Memorial Day. Each fall, Robert Stainkamp of Town and Country Flowers decorates with gigantic corn stalks and big orange bows. By December Lil Lindergren of Olive Duntley Florists adds big red bows with large ropes of greenery.

Residents, organizations and merchants are cordially invited to participate in the 2013 Adopt-a-Pole program and to obtain registration details on the chamber website: or by sending a $100 payment per pole to MCC, P.O. Box 754 Manhasset. Please include the message for your plaque and your contact information.

Participants will be acknowledged in the Manhasset Press, on a tag on the pole and on the chamber website.