Monday, March 19, 2012

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on this last day of winter.  Winter has been so mild, and the temperature today was more like early summer.  Very odd indeed, and a perfect time to take another of those new hybrid bendy buses across the Park to meet a friend.  We were going to see some art.

This is officially Asian Art Week in New York, and many East Side galleries have given their spaces over to art dealers who specialize in art from various Asian land, mostly from prior ages,  and some contemporary.  If you all wish to learn more about this have a look at the Asia Week site.

After seeing some beautiful Japanese woodblock prints, baskets and ceramics, it was time for lunch.  After lunch and lots of catch up chatting, we visited a few more galleries, and then, it was time to head over to Central Park to see how much more was now in bloom, compared to my last walk.

You can see the clear blue sky and the pretty green that is returning to the lawns.  The tips of many tree branches are now tipped with new leafing actions.  The overall effect is gorgeous!

Forsythia is usually a very early spring signal, but this year all the signals are getting juggled together by Mother Nature.

Many of you might already know that Central Park is an artificial landscape designed many years ago by wise men who knew what they were doing.  The Park has hills, slopes, dips, curves.  There are many pathways and very few straight lines.

Most paths are for pedestrians only, sometimes they pass under roadways that allow motor vehicles and bikes and rollerblades.

The tulip magnolia trees are not waiting for the calendar to say it is spring.  They are ready to go right now!

There are lots of sculptures throughout the Park.  The picture above is of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, just north of the model boat pond.  The photo below is of the Hans Christian Andersen sculpture just west of the model boat pond.  Children of all ages love these sculptures.

Climbing and photographing has been going on around here for many years.  Dogs often wait patiently.

Abundant forsythia crowns the over/underpass shown above.

The photo below shows the boat house restaurant (where there seems to have been a recent settlement to a long standing union action against the restaurant owners.  The shouting and drumming of the demonstrations have ceased, as spring comes to the lake.  Anyone with money can hire a row boat.

There are many willow trees along the east side of the Lake.  This makes for a very romantic setting.  

The trees also create very beautiful shadows.

The Bethesda Fountain Plaza is at the southern end of the Lake.  This gentleman might think that fish are available.  I am not so sure.  It is definitely possible to catch a sun tan/burn around here.

Even though the unseasonable warmth is encouraging tulips to join the mix, there are still many daffs putting on their show.

If you have lots of energy, like my friend and I did after our excellent lunch, you can take a walk through the wooded area at the northern end of the Lake and see parts of the Park that once upon a time might have been considered a bit risky for innocent walkers.

Now it's full of pathways full of strolling visitors, who will see areas not so manicured, and large rocks near a stream.  Fun to climb, particularly for children.

It's so funny to see this sign still in place.  Anyone who could have found any ice on the Lake today would deserve a grand prize.

I could not resist taking one more photo of this exuberant forsythia.

Aren't these Lake-dwelling turtles cute.  They have climbed up onto a log that is submerged just below the water surface.  The little turtle is hoping to hitch a ride on the back of the leader of this turtle pack.

I'm including this next photo just to show the context and scale of the little turtles against the edge of the lake.

Here's just one more glimpse of the beautiful lake and its surrounds on this lovely sunny day.

 After saying bye bye to my friend, I walked home through Strawberry Fields, got over to the market for some groceries, got home and somehow refrained from taking a nap.  

It will be back to work for me tomorrow, and I will be carrying with me lots of memories of this marvelous unusual final day of winter 2012.


  1. Looks like the perfect outing. I so love Central Park and what a blessing to have it right there where you can walk to it. It looks so different when the trees are in full bloom. We were just there this past June. Your photos are lovely.

  2. How nice to take a walk with you on such a glorious day - thank you for taking us along. Magnolia and daffodils already, you are well ahead of us!
    The Asian art is amazing, the woodblock prints jaw-dropping - sophisticated, detailed, in perfect register as if it was the easiest thing to accomplish, which any wistful amateur knows it is not!

  3. Spring seems to have fully arrived in your part of the world. At 0600 I've just looked out to see heavy rain, and I know that it is cold. No forsythia here yet!
    I always enjoy your strolls through the park. You find something new to show us each time.

  4. I do love your descriptions of Central Park. It looks so unpromising from the map, a bare green rectangle, like a large tennis court, perhaps - though of course the map gives no idea of scale. Then there's the name 'Central Park.' Surely this is but a working title? Peter Stuyvesant Park might be more romantic; or even George Washington Gardens.

    But whenever I am in that curmudgeonly mood your wonderful pictures attend to my spirit so that you could call it No 1 Park, for all I would care.

    Incidentally if March 20th is the last day of winter, when, then, is the last day of spring? Surely not the day before midsummer's day?

  5. dear frances, thank you for the lovely walk through the park. i hardly ever visit cp when in ny, but after seeing your turtles i have added it to my must see for next time!

    if you like animals and nature, there is an exibition coming to manhattan next week (through may). you might be interested,
    hasted kraeutler gallery 537 west 24th street.
    his work is truly breathtaking.

    happy spring!

  6. What a beautiful day, it seems you are having the same weather as us at the moment where everything is coming out early. Sorry not been around of late but I am on the mend now.

  7. central park has always fascinated me - I have seen it so many times in films etc.

    What foresight those wise men had in designing it all that time ago!


  8. What a lovely tour you've given us. That's what I love so much about blogland. Seeing places I wouldn't normally get the chance to is a real treat.

    Magnolias and Forsythia are just blooming here in the UK too.

    Fleur xx

  9. Thank you for sharing that with us.Lovely photos.

  10. I was only thinking to myself the other day how I haven't noticed any forsythia in bloom. It must have made a pretty picture against the blue sky.

    It is heartening to learn that areas once considered dangerous are now safe. Our first trip to Manhattan was rather scary, that was in 1980 and people warned us not to go. It was a pleasant surprise to return twenty years later to find a friendly unthreatening place.

  11. Central park has always held a fascination tinctured with fear it looks so beautiful but I remember its reputation one day I'd love to take a stroll there!

  12. Love the way they have planted the Forsythia over the walkway - really lifts it and stops it feeling like a forbidding space.

    The photo of the boating lake and cafe had me instantly in mind of the episode of Sex and the City when Carrie fell in the lake, promptly followed by Big.

    Spring is very definitely here too.

  13. How wonderful to have that glorious green space in the heart of your city. :D

  14. What a lovely walk in Central Park. Thank you for taking us along... I so enjoyed the views, the sunshine, the trees and blossom and of course the turtles.
    Enjoy the rest of your week, Frances.
    Helen x

  15. How funny that you are having a similarly early spring to us - Central Park looks lovely in it's new greenery.

  16. How lucky you are to live so near the park!

  17. What a lovely city/country day! O loved the first shot of the lake and the forsythia on the over/under pass.

  18. When I first read this our weather here was still way behind you, but, today, we've been catapulted into summer. The garden's suddenly burst into life and some of the shrubs seem to be unfurling as we watch. Isn't it lovely to see some sunshine too.

  19. Sorry, Frances, I seem to have missed this delightful post. Can't imagine how that happened.

    As always, I enjoyed my ramble with you, nature, art and a little friendship, all is included in these peaceful days of yours.

  20. What a lovely walk in the park. It is such a large park that we have not seen it all and I love looking at your pictures. We were in Nashville for 8 days and spring blooms were abundant there. I just published a post showing these blooms and also because it is my 3rd year anniversary but somehow the post did not update in Reader – this is the 3rd time this happens to me.

    I bet your park is even greener now.

  21. I so enjoyed that walk around the park. It is many years since I visited New York . I had a short stroll round the park and certainly remember being warned off the more remote parts. Good to know that it is free for all now.

  22. I was thinking of you these last 2 days and checked your blog so it was a pleasant surprise to read your comment today and to know you are OK.
    Hope you are enjoying Easter.

  23. I think those turtles have to be the best thing in central park and that is saying something! Lovely blog and great photos!

  24. Reading some of your blog entries.
    I did not know this was in N.Y.
    Looks almost like some of my country scenes. I am learning from you and about the area where 2 granddaughters are now living.
    Thank YOu..