Sunday, April 5, 2009

City Views, Country Dreams

Good afternoon from New York on Palm Sunday.

Yesterday very strong winds raced across our city for hours and hours. Surely a weather change was being delivered.

This morning's sky was bright blue, and the temperature declared it was again sweater weather, no coat required! How lucky I am to have had this day off. How lucky I am to live near Central Park on such a day.

I hope you all will allow me to take you on a brief walk around this lovely green space in the center of our city.

I usually enter the Park at the West 72nd Street entrance. The park has many walkways, but also has actual roadways that are used by cars during some hours, and used by pedicabs, horse drawn carriages, bicyclists and roller bladers at other times.

I like to walk through the Strawberry Fields area, and to pass by the pretty little wisteria tunnel. Today I saw these intricate shadows. They made me think of music.

Here is what some of the actual wisteria looks like. Later on in this season, I will try to remember to post a shot of it in full bloom.

I decided to walk east a bit along the southern end of the lake just to see what was blooming there, and if any rare (to us) birds might be around.

I didn't see any rare birds, but just across the roadway, looking south I saw lots of people and dogs relaxing on the lush lawn. See the Central Park South buildings looming over the end of the park ... about one half mile away

Who could resist a bright view of blue and yellow?

I then back tracked and took an uptown (northern) turn so I could follow a pathway along the edge of the lake. To my left was another roadway. The young man probably should have left his shirt on.

Along this edge of the lake are some quaint little summer houses. Very popular with tourists for photos! In the lake today I saw lots of the rental rowboats being put to use by romantic couples. I also saw some ducks and turtles.

The little pathway that swerved down near the summerhouses is a place where lots of pretty plants grow. I am going to share some pictures of New York hellebores.

The hellebores are protected by the wire fencing so that over enthusiastic admirers, like myself perhaps, will treat them gently.

Aren't they beautiful? I saw hundreds of them this afternoon.

Now, I continue my walk uptown, past the northern boundary of the lake. There are several transverse roads cut through the Park, so that vehicles can travel east/west. When I write about taking the bus across the park, this this the route that bus takes.

And now we are going to linger a while in my favorite part of Central Park. It is the Shakespeare Garden. This spot is beautiful in every season, and always provides a tranquil site. The next picture shows the western entry way to the Garden. The Garden is arranged on an incline.

There are several ways to walk through the Garden, some paved walkways, and also some very uneven paths made up of flat stones. Both feature gentle curves, so it is easy to "climb."

Some of the Garden gets very strong sun, and the plants in those parts are always ahead of the season. Other more shady areas have flowers, shrubs and trees that are not in such a hurry.

I love this tree.

There is a handy sun dial located near some benches made in the same rustic style as the fencing.

I took some photos of individual flowers. I am not totally sure of the exact names of many of these. Please feel free to educate me!

Look at this blue.

More rustic fencing ... and those are daffodils!

I loved this little trio with their pointy petals.

When you reach the top of the Shakespeare Garden you can exit down another sloping pathway that will take you past more flowers, and many more people, and will lead to the Great Lawn.

Pink and blue are so beautiful together. Which painters does this tree remind you of?

The Great Lawn is soooo green. Games are played here. Some concerts have been given here. I remember being at the Simon and Garfunkle reunion concert years ago, and thinking that Mr Garfunkle was singing way off key. Most of the rest of the crowd seemed not to notice.

I like these signs.

Leaving the Great Lawn, we head eastward, passing by Cleopatra's Needle, a gift to New York. Can you guess its original country?

Central Park has many graceful bridged and underpasses. I love this one because it has a wonderful echo effect. There is almost always a musician playing there, and hoping for a donation. I don't know if you can see today's saxophone player, on the left, just before the light at the end of the underpass. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is just beyond this underpass.

I almost stopped my walk in order to have another visit to the Met, but resisted. It was just too beautiful outside.
There are many statues all over the Park. This heroic figure is one of my favorites. We are about to start walking downtown (southward) on the east side of the Park.

As we walk along, Fifth Avenue is to our left. Ah, more daffs still going strong in a sheltered location.

Another typical sight in the Park is an Asian couple having their wedding photos taken.

I don't know if you all are getting tired, but my legs were beginning to say it was time to head back to the west side.

On the right hand side of this photo you'll see the old band shell. This edifice was to have been torn down years ago, but it has many nostalgic fans, and some of them must be powerful enough to continue to save it.
Roller bladers often do their thing on the paved area in front of the band shell. Today, there was a Michael Jackson impersonator whom I have often also seen doing his thing in the subway stations.

I often wonder why folks don't like to spread out a bit in the great outdoors. They have the rest of the city available if they want to be in a crowd.

Ah, maybe here's an explanation. The large open space known as the Sheep's Meadow is still closed so that the lawn can really get established for the late spring, and summer season.

I hope that you all have enjoyed the Park. Perhaps those of you who have not been to New York will know why I am so glad to live near this gem.
Easter is only a week away. I have begun looking at chocolate, trying to decide how to break my Lenten fast.
Any suggestions?


  1. Thanks for that Grand Tour, Frances. You live in a fantastic place! I've been to NYC but never visited Central Park. I'll have to do that someday. Isn't it wonderful that city founders and administrators had the forsight to save that beautiful green area for everyone's enjoyment?

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed "our" walk through Central Park! Like Pondside, I've been to NYC but never visited Central Park. I, too, wondered about how close all the people were on the grass, but just figured that so many wanted to be outdoors on such a beautiful day there wasn't room for all to have much space. Glad to learn there is room for many more. There is nothing like being outside on a lovely Spring day, especially after being confined during a long, cold winter. I so enjoy your blog and faithfully visit it, though I am not one to leave a comment very often. I guess because I do not blog myself, and because of the time element. I always wanted to live in an apartment in NYC, within walking distance or a quick bus ride to anything and everything, so I live vicariously through you. We are about the same age, which makes it even more enjoyable. Thank you for sharing your life with me and others.

  3. I do love walking with you; you're so appreciative of all you have and it really shines through in your descriptions. I particuarly enjoyed the photographs of the delicate tracery of wisteria and, later, the newly-weds. I also enjoyed your aside about the Simon and Garfunkle reunion! Thank you, Frances, for a lovely walk on what is a grey, damp morning here.

  4. That was a lovely walk. I'd have preferred a few less humans but the rest more than made up for it. The heroic statue is full of movement and very imposing. And how nice that so many flowers are out in the sunshine. Thank you.

  5. Frances, how lovely that was, a walk with you through Central Park. You hear so many bad things about the park, never walk there alone etc, so it was wonderful to see what a beautiful place it realy is. The blossom is fairytale, and the Wisteria will be so exquisite when it comes out.
    Thank you for taking us there.

  6. Great post Frances! I loved that photo of the wisteria shadows best. Really set my imagination going.


  7. I enjoyed the tour. Thanks! I've never been to New York but certainly hope to visit one day. Central Park will be one of the first places I check out. You are very lucky to live where you do!

  8. Oh that was lovely - what a treat it is to be taken around your beautiful city and its famous park; to see the sights from your perspective, rather than the perspective of a tourist - thank you! Warm wishes, Vxx

  9. Beautiful photos. My daughters and I visited the city Friday. Though we walked past the park on our way to the Met, the pouring rain that morning kept us from detouring through the park a bit. Thanks for sharing these!

  10. What a lovely walk Frances - & I didn't need to take the dogs!
    Turtles??!! I had to reread that coz I thought I had misread it! What a lot of people you saw, but so many beautiful flowers too. A wisteria walk - How lovely.
    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  11. Another great blog, and fabulous photos. Who was the statue on horseback with the two swords? Lovely hellebores, too. Can't help you with the other plants though - Milla?

  12. I walked along the river from Chelsea to Christopher Street yesterday and it was beautiful as well. So many people, and a surprising number of chihuahuas.

  13. Love those crinkly fences!
    Suggestion for chocolate.... lots! t.x

  14. Thanks so much for the tour Frances, and for taking all those photos. Central Park is really very beautiful. But you know I was put off for a very long time by the fact that it is rectangular. I felt that the linearity of its edges must intrude and that a 'proper' park must be an irregular shape. Not true of course.
    And you have shown us why.

  15. Oh what a wonderfull city!!
    You're really luky to live there.
    I've been in NYC four years ago and I'd like to come again soon...
    Have a nice week

  16. Thanks for taking us along,we enjoyed revisiting Central park. The blossom reminds me of a Van Gogh painting.

  17. Lovely tour - the fact that there are turtles in the lake is a revelation, my son loves turtles, he would spend hours sitting there watching them. One day, hopefully before he tires of turtles! The statue with the swords is excellent, and the blossom makes me think of the Japanese cherry blossom festival.
    I think a Creme Egg is the way to go to break that fast.

  18. Beautiful!Spring is coming!Lucky you.welcome to our blog

  19. Thank you for your kind visit and your post!
    My blog is in French but I'm Italian.Anyway, tricoter is knitting, that's right..
    I hope we'll be "blog friends".
    A big kiss to you and your fantastic city.

  20. What a beautiful walk. I have never been to New York, but it is on my list of places to visit. Central Park looks fabulous and very "lived in". Great Photographs

  21. Oh that was just lovely frances. thank you. It all looks so beautiful in the sunshine doesn't it? Enjoy that chocolate xx

  22. wow, what a beautiful place..I have heard of how beautiful Central Park is, but have not seen many pics..
    thanks for taking us there, i so enjoyed it..
    I would get a slice of chocolate cheesecake, or a nice chocolate pastry of some kind..:-)
    take care,

  23. That was just brilliant Frances - thank you so much. I loved the rustic fencing - then again I enjoyed all of it. So good that the weather was kind to you on your day off - after all the hard work you put in you deserve the sun and a lovely walk like this.

  24. I really enjoyed my walk,

    thank you,


  25. Thank you Frances for visiting our blogs and for your kind comments.
    I have only had one brief visit to New York,two days to be exact, but I remember how my feet immediately picked up the energising beat of a great city. I would love to come back.
    Now, regarding Cleopatra's Needle!
    Is that the Cleopatra's Needle that stood for many years on the Thames Embankment? But I think it's place of origin was Egypt. If my memory serves me well, it was flanked by two statues of reclining lions or mythical beasts.
    Thank you for the uplifting tour of Central Park, it reminds me of my own long ago walks through London Parks.

  26. I really feel as if I was on that walk with you Frances. So much to enjoy, all the photos are wonderful. It would be hard to pick a favourite. I like the shadow one and the blue flower and the pink blossom, oh so many.
    It looks really warm there.

  27. A lovely spring walk in the park. Glad to see the camera in such good use. I have the Van Gogh postcard of the blue sky and pink blossom. Wishing you a lovely Easter, some sunshine and lots of chocolate eggs.
    Eileen x

  28. Thanks for the tour. I've been to New York once and took a long walk in Central Park. It is a true treasure in that great city.

  29. I always think of one of my favourite films, Stewart Little, when I think of Central Park! It looks thoroughly lovely, if a little crowded in places (for me!). Thank you for sharing another part of New York.

  30. Hi Frances,

    Wonderful blog and such fab pictures. I have never visited NYC, but I am so privileged to be able to hear and see all what you give to us Frances.

    Love Wisteria, I have it growing on the front side of the porch. My other favourite too Frances would be the Pink Blossom.

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful walk with us Frances.


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