I spent last week visiting my family in New York City. The city in April can be dicey – you can get blooming trees and flowers, or you can get freezing winds and sometimes even snow. I was lucky to get the former.
I’ve already shared some of my childhood memories of growing up in New York, perhaps surprisingly green and outdoorsy ones for a city kid. Most of my return trips include a visit to the same places I spent time in as a kid – Riverside Park, or Central Park, or both. And there is no nicer time to be in these places than the spring.
This time I didn’t make it to Riverside, but I did walk home across Central Park a couple of times with my dad, going from the east side of the city to the west. We got two perfect, fall-in-love-with-New-York glorious days for our walks.
We entered the park around East 67th Street, passing the statue of the famous sled dog, Balto, whose back is burnished from years of being climbed on by admiring and adventurous children.
From there we skirted the southern end of the Mall, the grandest avenue inside the park, which is lined by tall and wonderful trees, including some really breathtaking American Elms, and wound around the carousel on a path that ran between a wide swath of softball fields and famous Sheep Meadow. People were tucked in all the nooks and crannies of the smaller lawns, among trees and rocks, eating picnics or playing with babies and little kids (so many kids).
The pathway adjacent that ran between the ballfield and the meadow was literally adrift in cherry and lilac blossoms.
Above the trees you could see the other forest – of towering buildings along the perimeter, beautiful in their own industrial, steel and brick way.
I wish every visitor to New York could experience the city and Central Park on days like these. The clear blue sky, the emerging leaves, and the people (but not too many of them) enjoying both the vast and the intimate corners of the green expanse all made me happy. It was warm enough in the sun that I took my jacket off and stuffed it in my backpack. Woody Allen himself, one of the most famous admirers of New York, could not have magicked up a more quintessentially beautiful day.
You may have noticed that none of the photos included in this post are mine, which I feel a little bad about. But truthfully, I just wanted to walk through the park with my dad, enjoying the springtime sun on my skin, and not worry about anything else.