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December 2002

A Desert Comes to Life

With dolls playing the role of Africans on their tabletop oasis, geography students at a Floral Park, New York, elementary school consult National Geographic in 1934. They might have found models for their date palms in "Crossing the Untraversed Libyan Desert" (September 1924).

Floral Park was once a kind of oasis itself—one for the eyes—for passengers on the Long Island Rail Road. Fields of flowers at the John Lewis Childs seed company would blaze past the windows as the trains roared by. Childs sold off his land by the early 1920s, and neighborhoods soon bloomed where flowers once did.

This photo has never before been published in National Geographic.
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Photograph by Ewing Galloway