Wednesday, June 16, 2010


This time of the year, it's impossible to walk down my street without noticing the fresh, slightly sweet scent of linden trees. Not that my street is lined with them. I'd say there's about a half dozen of them, mixed in with maples and a couple of gingkos. The largest of them is just up the street from me by the Metroland offices and, if I open my windows, I can smell it from my room.

According to Huybertie Pruyn Hamlin's memoir, "An Albany Girlhood" (which I highly's lack of polished narrative is outweighed by the wonderfully detailed accounts of upper class life in late 19th-century Albany), it was a local Dutch custom to plant a linden tree in front of one's home to commemorate the birth of a first child and, indeed, there was a large linden tree in front of her father's beautiful Elk Street house.


  1. I've never noticed a scent. But I have one in my yard, so I'll give it a sniff.

  2. Funny, but growing up in Albany, I never noticed the linden trees. Now, in France, I have one in my back yard. Linden is tilleul in French.

  3. Hi! I am a new follower to your blog and wondered if you have any older Photos (or memories) of Pellegrino Imports on Madison Avenue? It was my grandparents store. We have photos in our family of course but I just wondered if you had anything about it to..Great blog though, thanks for posting!!

  4. One thing I've noticed about the lindens...for years, I didn't smell them, either. Then, about five years ago, I caught the scent while passing one of the larger ones. Since then, it's a very obvious scent.

    Nicole and Jeff, I don't have any photos of Pellegrinos, but I remember shopping at the Madison Avenue store when I was little. Our neighbor further up Madison was an older man from Naples and a very good cook. My aunt (who was not a good cook) wanted to try to make some of his dishes herself and took me there to buy canned clams and tomatoes. Three things I remember most...first, the wonderful smell. Second, those pretty little marzipan fruits, and third, wanting a set of cannoli molds.