My very first post on this blog, back in September 2013, was about sitting in Washington Square Park. It’s such a New York place in my mind, a mix of locals and tourists, a gathering place, a people-watching spot.
I tend not to spend much time on weekends in Manhattan. It’s not that there aren’t great things to do in Manhattan – there are, and I’ve written about them. But when you spend a solid hour and a half commuting Monday through Friday, sometimes on the weekend, you need a break.
I can’t believe I haven’t written about the High Line before. It’s been five years since I first walked it with friends, when I was an intern, and fell in love with it. But if I’m being honest, the reason I haven’t written about it is that I’m not sure I’ve walked it since I started writing this blog. I know, it’s crazy – how can a place be one of my favorites in New York if I haven’t been there in a year? But the High Line is pretty far west, and not the easiest place to get to by public transit. I walked there last night from my office and it took me about half an hour – only ten minutes longer than the subway option would have taken me.
Sometimes I write these posts in a bit of a hurry. Life is busy, time gets away from me, and it’s the night I’m supposed to post and I have nothing written yet. When I first started the blog (almost a year ago!), I had a few entries in the bank, which was an excellent plan. I also had a list of topics I might someday write about. The bank is now empty, and while there are a few items still on the list, mostly I come up with new topics on the spot. Often, now, they’re timely: I write about something I just did or just heard about.
I love parks – I write about them enough, don’t I? – but Bryant Park is a very special kind of park. As my friend said on Friday when we ate our pizza there before seeing a show, in Bryant Park you are still very much in the city. It’s ringed with tall buildings that you can see above the tree line, and it’s filled with people at all times, people who are sitting and reading or sunbathing or talking or doing yoga or doing nothing. There’s food to eat and a carousel to ride and an outdoor bar and ping pong tables and a library space – and space to just be, even in the midst of hundreds of other people. It’s only been that way for a little over twenty years, after a renovation that turned it from an unsafe space to a celebrated public asset – with public bathrooms worth raving about.
My dad came to visit this weekend and on Saturday morning we knew we needed to spend time outside. It was a gorgeous day, in the upper seventies, and after brunch at a diner we wandered over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Famous for its cherry blossom festival each spring, the Botanic Garden is located in the northeast part of Prospect Park, near the Brooklyn Museum and the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. When we got there, we made a lovely discovery: admission is free on Saturday mornings between 10 am and 12 pm. Continue reading