I’ve had at least one friend from out of town tell me after a NYC visit that she could never live here because we walk too much here in the city. Admittedly I do tend to drag visitors on long walks — I firmly believe you get to know and orient yourself in a city best when you’ve seen it on foot — but she wasn’t wrong that there’s a fair amount of walking as part of normal NYC life. The subway is great, but you have to get there to use it. But if you focus on tourist-centered walking or utilitarian daily travel, you miss out on one of the greatest joys of NYC walking: wandering.
I didn’t get in enough park time over the summer. I was on the go too much to wander over to the park and meander down paths or sit in the grass. I had a picnic at one point, but it was a planned get-together with friends, not a spontaneous decision to get out and enjoy the summer weather.
And let’s be real — I’m not the biggest fan of real summer weather. Sitting in the park when it’s 85+ degrees out is only tolerable in the shade, and let’s forget taking a walk. So the best time to enjoy Prospect Park (and really? the best time of year, period) is fall. Not too hot, not too cold, and before long the leaves will be changing color.
Mark your calendars for the weekend of September 25-27: square dancing is coming back to Bryant Park! It’s on their calendar so it must be true, and since unlike most of the things I post about, this is a time-sensitive activity, I figured three weeks notice was only fair. That’s plenty of time to get excited, and to figure out which of your friends you might be able to convince to go with you. There are three nights of dancing — Friday 9/25, Saturday 9/26, and Sunday 9/27, all from 6 till 9.
First posted November 15, 2013. Updated with new text and new pictures!
Sometimes I forget that Manhattan is an island. This is because I rarely see the water. Plenty of New York is surrounded by beautiful water, and the closest I usually get to it is when I take an express train over a bridge and get a quick glance from the window. This is a shame.
A few summers ago I discovered the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, and while I haven’t taken advantage of it nearly often enough, I’m glad to know it’s there. According to Wikipedia the Greenway is 32 miles long. The part I’m most familiar with runs along the Hudson, and all along this cyclist/pedestrian path you can find green spaces that face the Hudson River.
There’s a special place in SoHo that’s not quite like any other I’ve visited in the city. It even feels a little bit magical.
I’d walked by the Elizabeth Street Garden before and wondered what it was, but I’d never been inside till this spring, when a friend suggested an outing. It was a perfect day to be outside in NYC, and there aren’t that many green spaces in SoHo. That alone makes the Elizabeth Street Garden special – but there’s more to it than that!
I don’t spend a lot of time in Central Park. It’s far away, there are tons of tourists, and it’s not always possible to find a quiet spot to enjoy nature, since, like I said, tons of tourists. Mostly when I want to hang out in a big park, I head to Prospect Park — closer and quieter.
But Central Park is the first thing I loved about New York City as a kid. I had at least one Central Park-themed calendar along the way, and on visits to the city I would always want to visit. It’s just so BIG and after walking around the city, it’s so green. I loved the boulders every kid ever wants to scramble around on, even before they showed up in an episode of Doctor Who. My only memory from when my dad ran the NYC marathon is of waiting in Central Park for him when it was all over.