Thursday, July 4, 2013

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on the Fourth of July.

It's a beautiful summer day, and the air is much more clear than it was earlier this week.  Yesterday's heat and humidity resulted in a series of very strong showers.  The rain was just tapering off last evening, just before sunset, as my colleagues and I closed the shop and began our walk to the subway station.  

What a delight to look up from under our umbrellas to see a very vivid rainbow arc against the eastern part of the sky.  We rejoiced at our fortune to see this spectacle and encouraged all other pedestrians along our bit of sidewalk to Look Up at that Rainbow.  Joy was shared and passed along.

Tonight there will be another spectacle in the sky over New York City, the annual fireworks display, sponsored by Macy's, the large department store.  The fireworks will be sent skywards from barges afloat in the Hudson River.

Although my posts usually feature Central Park, I thought it might be fun to take a different, western, direction in today's walk, so that I could show you a very different park area along the Hudson River, only a few blocks away from my home.

As I neared this entrance to the park, I saw Police Department equipment that will be in use tonight to help guide the thousands of folks who will be arriving to view the fireworks.

The walkway that I walked downhill from street level has a gentle slope and is used by pedestrians and cyclists.

As you walk towards the Hudson River, you leave behind an area dominated by huge apartment buildings.  Your path will take you under, yes under, the West Side Highway, and you will be well aware of the traffic passing overhead, as well as the pretty wildflowers planted along side of the pathway.  You might even see birds and bees.

You will become aware of the scent of the River, and find lots of open sky.

It's a wise idea to also keep an eye and ear out for bicycles, although most cyclists do seem to obey the signs.

Whenever I do visit this Park, I always have a slightly uncomfortable sense of disorientation.

The real estate developer Donald Trump likes to put his name on buildings.

As I neared "sea level" I glanced back to see the slope of the pathway.

At the base of the slope is a cafe.  It is not particularly attractive, but the location does have a good view.

New Jersey is on the opposite side of the Riber.

That is what the cafe patrons can see, if they stand up.  While seated, the view is of other patrons.

My favorite feature of this Park is the pier that extends at least a third of the way across the River.  On a clear day like today, there is much to see.

What surprised me this morning was that very few other folks were out for similar walks.  Tonight this area is going to be packed.

Can you see the ocean liner "parked" at a pier in the distance?

I am glad that some of the vintage riverside wharf features have been retained amid all the gleaming modern construction.

What a glorious day!

Looking north, the George Washington Bridge is just about visible on the far right of the following photo.

More blue sky and puffy clouds!

This mother and son had also decided it was a fine day to take some photographs.

Just lovely!

There was a bit of traffic on the River.  I also saw a crew team with their scull and a kayak propelled by a lone oarsman.

Another view.

Feeling aired out and rather relaxed, I turned around to walk back to shore side.  The clear plastic bags tied to the railings are there to collect rubbish.  All in all, this park is kept quite clean.

If you are thirsty, you can have a sip of water here.

Rather than retrace my steps homeward, I decide to continue my walk northward along the River side.  Overhead on my right is the noisy West Side Highway.

Here's a farewell view of that cafe.

There were a few roses blooming, and I could not resist a photograph.  After all, this is a park.

Here you can see the tide coming in, and also a view of the pier I'd walked along.

I actually do know some folks who've kayaked along the Hudson.  Here is an entry point for those brave sailors.

Here is another view of the underside of the Highway.

A few folks seemed to be preparing for a Fourth of July picnic.

A little farther along, I neared the 79th Street Boat Basin.  Some folks actually live on boats that are docked here.

I didn't see much human activity over there this morning.

It's important not to have any waterway reveries along this walkway.  It's very busy with bikes, joggers, the occasional Parks Department truck, and some meandering pedestrians like me.

It's wise to try to stay in you own lane, and hope others do as well.

As I began my walk up from the River side, I thought this backward view was quite tranquil.

These old steps were graded gently to aid those going uphill.

This area far away from the River is actually called Riverside Park.  It has been around for much longer than the modern part just below the Trump buildings.

One more lingering view of the open sky.

I could not resist this reflection, left over from yesterday's rains.

I exited Riverside Park at 79th Street.  In the distance you can see the architectural contrasts of the neighborhood.

I passed by the Eleanor Roosevelt statue that was installed about ten or 15 years ago.  She seems to thinking important thoughts.

Back up on the hot pavements, I saw much more Police Department equipment, although I didn't see any police officers.  Perhaps they will be arriving later in the afternoon to begin the immense project of setting up all the security required for this evening's big show.

Here's an entrance road that allows passenger cars access to that Highway I walked under.

And having waited for the traffic light to change, I walked across 79th Street and took one more look at the westward view.

I hope that you all have enjoyed seeing a bit of another neighborhood park.  Today seemed an idea day to get outdoors early.  I may, but probably will not, return after sundown to see the fireworks.

Thank you all for your visits and comments.  Best wishes for a glorious Fourth of July.


  1. Thank you, Frances, for this truly wonderful excursion along the Hudson River, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I always tried to walk bits and pieces along the river, whenever I was up in New York City.

    Wishing you a truly great Fourth of July Weekend,

  2. What a treat you have given us. I found it exciting to see a part of your wonderful city which you haven't shown us before. Those tall buildings! (Can't you tell I am a country bumpkin now?). It is all so clean and no litter. Beautiful photographs too. I hope you are having a perfect 4th July and I am so pleased the weather was kind. It has been gorgeous here today too.

  3. Another lovely walk, Frances. But my overwhelming impression is of towering behemoth buildings! They seem to dominate everything.
    How nice to see a rose blooming amongst it all.

  4. Happy 4th July!
    What a lovely long walk along the river side. I'm still frustrated by having my ankle tendon problems and unable to walk more than a mile or two without discomfort. It will get better (the left one is much improved) but it's a slow process and I'm impatient!
    C xx

  5. that was fun frances, it seems like you chose a perfect day to walk along the hudson. my kids play in a volleyball league on one of the piers, there is so much to do on the west side (well, i guess its nyc, there is alot to do everywhere!). i think one of these times i would like to take advantage of the free kayaking, perhaps you'd like to join me? :)

  6. We used to bike up there often -when did I get so lazy!
    So lovely to be reminded of what I have been missing.
    We did see the fireworks from the roof and they were wonderful.
    Hope to see you very soon.

  7. What a journey you have taken us on. I shall have to get my map out and retrace your steps. Thank you for another glimpse of your wonderful city.

  8. What a wonderful post! You have taught me so much about NYC -- I'd love to visit and have you as a guide . . . you make it all seem so friendly.

  9. Belated 4th of July good wishes from me :)

    It seems a silly thing to say on the basis of blog posts alone, but I think I prefer Central Park ... no road overhead, no pedestrian lanes ... this was one of those posts that actually took me into the city you write so well - I could hear that traffic - and I am not a big city girl. Perhaps I should take my camera a walk around my neighbourhood for contrast!

  10. Thank you all for your comments.

    Elizabethd, you are so correct that it's hard to ignore those giant buildings looming over the riverside.

    Central Park also remains my favorite neighborhood park!

    I did not retrace my steps on the evening of the Fourth to see the fireworks. I could definitely hear their Boom, Boom, Boom from my apartment during the allotted half hour though.

    Heat and humidity continue to rule here in NYC for this weekend!

  11. I can well imagine the heat and humidity, Frances, but your photos are all full of the impression of cool morning air. I enjoyed that walk - I always enjoy your little tours. A friend was in NYC last weekend and when she told me she'd sneaked off from her friends to spend some time walking in Central Park I could picture what she'd seen - thanks to you!

  12. Wonderful pictures, Frances...thank you for these views of NYC, I love to visit it through your blog posts! I enjoyed seeing the tall buildings and lots of views I haven't seen before, especially along the river.
    I hope you had a happy July 4th, and wish you a happy summer too.
    Helen x

  13. 13 I finally finished my trilogy on San Francisco in the 60s but that took a lot of my time- finding old photos, digitizing slides, etc., and now I can visit blogs. What a treat to go on walk with you on Riverside Park. When we go to New York we can see the river from our room and go on the park from 80th Street. I had not seen the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt; I’ll have to check it next time. We had a raining 4th here, all week it rained until yesterday and it may rain tonight again, our fireworks were cancelled – I would have loved to be in New York!

  14. Thank you for your time and patience in posting all those glorious photos which bring back more happy memories of your city.

    (And I hope to be back to blogging soon too!)

  15. Are there others like you?
    I always thought US citizens don’t walk, never, nowhere.

    Is it only NYers who do?

    Whatever is the truth of the matter, your walks are wonderful, the views you present, the aspects of NYC are not only interesting but always delightful.

    Keep on walking, Frances, and keep on taking photos for us. I am always glad to follow you wherever you lead.

  16. Sadly this shows my NYC as an ongoing new generic city in it's new "buy not rent apartment" living mentality.

    In time NYC will mostly look like zero from it's former unique ethnic neighborhood quality.

    Somehow these new neighborhood's
    do not make me wish to go there.

  17. Frances,

    Lovely views of the West Side and the river. I think that the green arches of the highway bridges are just wonderful. Thanks for asking about my degree on Chris's blog. If you have the time, take a look here at my Academia page, which has some details of what I've been up to.

    How we'd love to see New York's summer face!


  18. Hi Frances,
    Thank you so much for your email, a little while back, with the lovely image of Lotta Jansdotter's fabric print. That must be so nice to have this little treasure.
    Loved your tour of a part of NYC that I have never seen - very interesting.
    I hope you are keeping well.
    xoxo Ingrid

  19. Thanks for sharing NYC
    It's been so long since I went to that area to paint I think...
    I have to say when you're in a park in Paris you aren't aware of any other distractions like looming buildings. Thank goodness.

  20. What a lovely long walk. I was transported from hot England to hot New York. You'd be the perfect walking companion. You notice everything and then are generous enough to share it with others.

  21. What an amazing trip - the big buildings frighten me a little, but I do love the old river building left up. X

  22. I loved your walk to the greenside of NYC. You know i love your town and this area i will definitly visit next time!

  23. Hi Frances. Thank you so much for visiting my blog today and your wonderful comments. I enjoyed walking along with you and visiting your amazing city. Your photographs are so beautiful and I will definitely visit again.

  24. Thank you so much for the virtual tour. It's many years since I visited New York from the U.K but I have the best memories to cherish.
    Love the Upper West Side, love all of it.

  25. How beautiful. I have never been to New York seeing it only through the camera lens of the likes of Woody Allen and other such... Your lens showing people going about their business, enjoying their day, has been a pleasure to follow. Greetings from Australia. ( I came here via Friko's blog)

  26. This is a fantastic post - much better than any tourist guide! I had the feeling I was close to you on that day, following your steps, looking at the same places that attracted your attention, I even felt the atmosphere of quietness before the celebration. Thank you, Frances!! You obviously love New York!