As the volunteer caretaker and steward of this special place since Amir passed away in 2003, I'd like to thank the Weekly for the award and write-up. The recognition for Amir's beautiful rest stop and ornamental garden in Griffith Park is very much appreciated!
Author Reuben E. Reynoso's write-up on the garden does bring up an issue that needs discussion. In it, he not-so-subtly suggests that visitors may want to bring wine to the garden and toast Amir (and then not to blame him or the Weekly for doing so). This likely comes from the garden's and its founder's history. Amir's weekly potluck through the 1980s and early '90s often included wine. After all, when not caring for the garden, Amir Dialameh worked as a wine expert at Greenblatt's Deli on Sunset for years. A glass of red wine before bed was a part of his heart-healthy daily routine.
At the end of November, I will now have been caring for the garden as Amir did for a full 1/4 of the time he put in. That's 8 years at some 900 volunteer hours per year spent in the garden. In these past 8 years, the appearance of alcohol in the park - and in the garden itself - has definitely increased. And not in a positive way.
So I ask: when you toast Amir for his beautiful gift and you want to use alcohol of some variety, please respect the garden, the park, and everyone who enjoys the park by raising your toast outside the park.
|Amir Dialameh in another lovely garden.|
Credit: Farrokh A. Ashtiani
Over the summer, the amount of alcohol party trashings of the garden went from annoying-but-occasional to every weekend with one or more of these inappropriate uses of Amir's beautiful gift taking place. Just two weeks ago, I spotted four kids off-trail near Amir's with a telltale blue box in hand. When Park Rangers found them, these park patrons had 36 cans of beer prepped for a big afternoon.
It is illegal to bring alcohol into the park, and the law is for everyone: you cannot have one set of laws for some and not for others. Please don't bring alcohol to Amir's Garden, even for a simple toast.
If you are compelled to toast Amir in his fantastic garden, as anyone might be, many non-alcoholic drinks are out there for you to choose from. Sparkling grape juice is my personal fave. Good stuff!
Read Farrokh Ashtiani's wonderful tribute to Amir at the time of his passing here.