A New Buzz
David Graves is wearing a pith helmet and veil as he delivers a jar of sugar water to a newly installed hive of honeybees. "This helps them build their comb,' he explains. A typically sylvan beekeepers' moment. The only difference: Graves is on top of a Manhattan office building, tending a secret beehive that has been in place since April. From his stand at the Union Square Greenmarket, the beekeeper and his daughter, Heather, sell maple syrup, honey, jams and jellies produced at their home base in Becket, Mass. By next fall, they hope to introduce "New York City Honey."
Graves first proposed his urban-hive concept last spring, asking members of the Jane Street Block Association for permission to place a hive on a rooftop. The Jane Streeters were not convinced that his "very gentle" Italian bees would be benign, but soon after, Graves says, a "secret sponsor" offered him space at an undisclosed location. The legality of all this is unclear, but Graves believes the product will be worth any logistical hurdles. "Some believe local honey may help immunize people with allergies to local pollen, but I make no claims," he says. "I'm just looking forward to a unique taste."
PHOTOGRAPH BEE MAN: BRAD WILSON FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES - JULY 6,1997