Raw footage for the award-winning series The 90's. In Central Park, New York City, "Wild Man" Steve Brill conducts tours pointing out edible plants and teaching about conservation. He lectures about ethics and safety issues in picking wild plants before leading his tour. He also explains his bureaucratic troubles continuing his tours, which continue till this day. In 1981, when he was leading tours in New York's parks, he was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for picking plants. After that, he made a deal with the city and now he's an official Park Department employee. His final advice: "Enjoy this planet, it's yours to partake of, it's yours to protect."
00:00Copy video clip URL Video opens with Steve Brill talking about resigning from the Parks Dept.
01:30Copy video clip URL Brill talks about eating wild plants being viewed as dangerous by the Parks Dept. He talks about resigning later in the week, but continuing to do the tours on his own for free.
03:15Copy video clip URL He says in order to follow his personal philosophy, he needs to be able to do this on his own.
04:14Copy video clip URL He is preparing to start the tour, giving instructions to the participants.
05:00Copy video clip URL Footage of people, many with cameras, preparing to start the tour.
05:53Copy video clip URL People walking through Central Park on the tour. Footage of some of the plants.
07:00Copy video clip URL Brill talks about one plant called Green Briar, and some of the people taste the plant. They describe the taste.
09:34Copy video clip URL Footage of a man sleeping in the park. More footage of the people picking the Green Briar and eating it.
10:42Copy video clip URL Brill says they want to do more than “partake in nature” and want to get to know the plants. He says its forms describes its “past inheritance and its future.” He points out a Black Locus leaf and begins describing some of its features. He talks about the evolution on the plant.
12:30Copy video clip URL A woman tastes the plant and describes it as “sweet, but not fruity sweet.”
14:07Copy video clip URL Brill says that not all plants are in season. He talks about the Gilder Rose, a shrub with a flower. He begins discussing the features of the plant, including its leaves.
15:20Copy video clip URL Brill says the plant called Wisteria is a relative of the Black Locus.
18:50Copy video clip URL A man picks a plant, saying he uses it for salad.
19:35Copy video clip URL Brill talks about a poisonous plant called Hawkweed. He says that in order to eat it, you need to boil the plant for 20 minutes. He mentions it has Vitamin A. A woman talks about Brill being a “good teacher who really teaches you caution.”
21:56Copy video clip URL The woman talking about Berry plants being her favorite. Marpet asks if the woman has any favorite recipes, and she says that she likes to cook with mushrooms. She says she’s never eaten poisonous plants. She says “If we find just one specimen, he won’t let us pick it.”
23:18Copy video clip URL A woman named Sylvia talks about mixing hawkweed berries with Vodka being helpful for arthritis.
24:18Copy video clip URL They find Mugwart and say herbal lore says it helps cancer. Brill describes the flowers and describes them in relation to some other plants. He says “plants that are related have similar flowers; the leaves change with the environment.”
26:00Copy video clip URL Brill talks about steaming plants. He discusses making wines out of various plants. He goes through the step-by-step process of making wine out of dandelions. He mentions using it in recipes for soups and turning “anything ordinary into a gourmet dish.”
29:05Copy video clip URL Brill describes Mugwort being good to use like parsley and used in brown rice or vinegar. He talks about the history of the plant, and stories about the plant causing vivid dreams. He says it may also be medicinal for menstrual cramps.
33:28Copy video clip URL Footage of boat rides on the pond in the park.
34:17Copy video clip URL Brill talks about a plant called Vivernum and questions participants on its characteristics.
35:16Copy video clip URL Brill talks about some mushrooms beginning to grow, they’re called Micah Caps. He talks about them disintegrating as they mature and turning into ink.
36:35Copy video clip URL Video goes static.
36:40Copy video clip URL Footage starts again. People are walking through the park and picking plants.
37:40Copy video clip URL A woman talks about Wild Spinach in salad being a multi-vitamin.
38:14Copy video clip URL Participants take a lunch break.