O., who grew up in Europe, is amazed that New Yorkers know so little about the legendary Linden tree, which grows everywhere in the city. The tea made from Linden flowers is as much a staple in Europe as green tea is in Asia.
To make Linden tea, she boils the freshly-gathered flowers (which should be taken from park rather than street-grown trees, because park-grown trees are cleaner) for about 5 minutes, then steeps them for another 10 minutes and strains the golden tea into cups, sweetening it with honey. The fragrant brew has a delicate, slightly resinous taste.
Linden tea turns out to be a very highly-regarded home remedy with a wide variety of medicinal uses, including insomnia. It's a habit well worth forming.