In anticipation of next week’s High Line Honey Day, we sat down with one of our favorite beekeepers to talk about honey (what else?). We invite you to join us on Wednesday, July 31, for a fun afternoon with artisanal beekeepers and special honey-infused offerings from the High Line’ s food vendors. Until then, Chase Emmons, managing partner & apiary director at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, tells us the “buzz” about urban beekeeping. He shares how he shed his corporate suit—preferring jeans and a tee—to spend his days beekeeping.
It only took Chase one day to fall in love with bees. In 2002, a friend introduced him to beehives, and it wasn’t very long before he decided to sell his company—the famed Princeton Review—and trade tests for ten hives on a farm in Massachusetts. At first Chase produced only small batches of honey for his friends and family as holiday gifts. He found beekeeping surprisingly easy. “Beekeeping is a small amount of labor on the human side that produces incredible beauty and harvest,” says Chase. The bees do most of the work.
Chase’s newfound love of beekeeping didn’t stop there. He eventually connected with Ben Flanner, head farmer and president of Brooklyn Grange. They now co-own and operate the world’s largest rooftop farm and NYC’s largest commercial apiary.
Urban beekeeping only recently gained popularity since the re-legalization of beehives in the city in 2010. However, its impact on biodiversity in the city is enormous. The city’s honeybees gather nectar and pollen from street trees, flowerbeds, backyard gardens, and—of course—public parks like the High Line. The annual High Line Honey Day gives neighbors and visitors a peak into an important urban ecosystem. “While the phenomenon of urban beehives is relatively new, beekeeping goes back to the days of Egyptians using honey as wound bandages,” explains Chase.
Having grown up a mere five blocks from the High Line, Chase, thinks of the park as his “backyard”—a space he remembers fondly exploring as a teenager. So he’s excited to have brought Honey Day to the High Line.
Stay tuned for another blog post featuring fun photos and updates about High Line Honey Day!
High Line Honey Day will take place on the High Line at West 14th St. from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM on Wednesday, July 31. Come taste artisanal honey, watch bees do the humorous “waggle dance,” and learn more about urban beekeeping in New York City.