It is hard to be bored in New York City. Between the museums, theater, restaurants, galleries, people watching, strolling through Central Park (in the daylight), shopping and just walking around, one can stay very occupied.
Little Island at Pier 55
Media mogul Barry Diller donated $240 million to build and maintain a beautiful 2.4 acre artificial island at Pier 55 for the first 20 years. The island is accessible from two short bridges from Manhattan. It is a beautifully landscaped undulating park built atop dozens of different size stanchions that rise out of the Hudson River. The park has hills offering views of Manhattan, the river and New Jersey from all four corners. One enters through a gate like those that used to lead to all the city’s Hudson River piers. The park is extravagantly planted with trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses. It houses a 687-seat amphitheater overlooking the river, refreshment stands and plentiful, moveable chairs and tables. It is wonderful for lovely walks, enjoying a leisurely morning coffee or just reading or if you must, working in a lovely, relaxed outdoor setting.
The High Line
We always enjoy strolling along the 1.45-mile elevated pathway of the former West Side Line of the New York Central Railroad spur on the lower west side of Manhattan. The pathway now reaches all the way from the Whitney Museum to Hudson Yards and has been redesigned and planted as an aerial park. Although the nature trail was still a lovely escape from the city traffic and lights, it was certainly not an escape from the crowds. Tourists and residents stroll through the area that is filled with public art and greenery. It was packed from the moment we got on at 30th St, to our exit on 18th. We found ourselves continually dodging baby strollers, trying to get around people who insist on walking three or four abreast and avoiding those who suddenly stop or weave. Pretty, yes: a tranquil respite from the city bustle, not even close.
The streets of New York City are always changing. Temporary art exhibits come and go. One time you might find a large, fun, Jeff-Koons-like inflatable ballerina putting on her shoes in Rockefeller Center.
Or maybe you will see a temporary installation by artist Maya Lin. To call attention to the one of the many dangers of global warming, the exhibit pulled 49 white cedar trees that were killed by salt water from a recent New Jersey storm surge and “replanted” them in a 7×7-tree square in Madison Park. Although it is uncertain how much attention this will bring to the plight, the area is attracting people to the area to sit and picnic among the pale, leafless trees.
Weekend Street Scenes
Although there is always something interesting going on in New York City, weekends often offer a wide range of events. Of those that we just happened upon over the October weekend we were in town, we explored two farmers’ markets (Union Square and the Upper West Side), a flea market (Upper West Side), a street fair (8th Avenue in Midtown), musicians practicing in parks and playing on the streets and Weed World trucks all around the city. You never know what you might run into as you roam around the city.
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