NYC | Saturdays in the Park

“A man selling ice cream”


Autumn and I usually don’t get along too well. Not because Autumn has ever done anything to me, but simply because Autumn signals the end of Summer. Born & bred on the beach in South Jersey, Summer and I have always gotten along extraordinarily well. Autumn signals less sunlight, my tan going away, and the inability to wear flip flops on the daily.

But Autumn in New York is pretty incredible. This is actually my third Autumn in New York, although this one seems a little different. My first was in 2007 when I was on a work rotation in Manhattan from mid-October to mid-November. My second was in 2009 when I was living in Jersey City but working in Tribeca. So while it may be my third, this is the first time that I’m actually LIVING in New York for realz, and I’m experiencing it in a whole new light. Granted, this is a shorter amount of light than Summer would bring, but I’m going to accept it and just enjoy the hours I have.

I’ve spent the last three Saturdays getting to know this little park close to my apartment, Central Park. 

The first Saturday, my roommate’s family was in town. After we nursed our hangovers from the previous night, we walked over a few blocks and met them there. We walked around a little bit, got soft pretzels, then went to the Loeb boathouse while Nicole’s cousins took a rowboat out and drank a few beers, discussed politics (and Chris Kirkpatrick), and laughed heartily. I pledged that while the weather is still nice, I am going to take advantage of the proximity of the park to my new place. 

Bethesda Fountain

The next weekend, my super-awesome friend Aubrey from home came to visit and we went on a quest to complete one of the items on my “26 things to do before I turn 26” list: Ride the carousel in Central Park.  We eventually found it right off the 65th street transverse (after walking about 30 minutes out of our way – NYC Parks Department, please put some signs up in this park dagnabbit!) and made the best $2 investment we’ve spent in a long time. I mean, when is the last time you were on a carousel? Don’t act like you’re too cool for it. Everything about the ride was awesome: the antique horses, the carnival jams, the fact that we were a good 20 years older than all the other passengers. After riding a carousel, what else were we to do but stumble upon a playground and play on the rocks, slides, and swingset? The day was magical and provided for some pretty solid Facebook defaults (which is all our generation is in search for in life anyway).


This past Saturday was especially fun for me because I got to share my new backyard with my parents and my sister.  My family’s visit happened to coincide with what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. I would have taken my former hippie ‘rents to see Strawberry Fields (west 72nd street entrance) even if it weren’t Lennon’s birthday, but I was even more excited when Google reminded me of this special day because I knew a celebration would be going on. This is actually supposed to be a “peaceful spot” but on Lennon’s 70th birthday AND the 25th anniversary of the “Imagine” memorial, it was quite the party. Unfortunately, because of the crowd, we couldn’t make it anywhere near the actual memorial, so I will have to visit again another time. But, I thought it was really cool to be in the crowd of people dressed like Sgt Pepper and the man with the technicolor beard, all singing together in honor of a pretty awesome dude.
From Strawberry Fields, we went on to walk to the Lake and we hopped in a row boat – something I’d been dying to do since Nicole’s cousins did it two weeks earlier. $12 / hour for a priceless trip on the Lake with your family members is not a bad bargain. The Loeb Boathouse boasts 100 row boats and three (yes, they actually advertise three) kayaks. As I’ve been told, the rowboats are more like bumper cars than anything else as no one on the lake actually knows how to row a boat and everyone just crashes into each other for the most part. My dad (kayak champion that he is) was rowing the boat as if he was in a race at first and ended up soaking this poor woman while trying to show off his skills and we definitely crashed into enough other boats. But all in all, we had a great time out on the lake.

My favorite part was rowing over to where a shirtless man was singing folk music and singing along with him. During one song, he asked us to do drum solos by pounding our hands on the rowboat and rewarded us with Kudo’s 100-calorie bars. 2 out of 3 fell into the lake (although I triumphantly caught mine) but no worries, we fished them out and my dad even ate one on the trip back to the boathouse (ew). Pretty sure we are going to be in at least 20 tourists’ photo albums slamming our hands on the boat (the start of my celebrity status??). We wandered around for a little longer after my sister and I both had our chances to row and found the Conservatory Pond where there are little model sailboats sailing around peacefully. We also were able to see the hawks’ nest, which was pretty cool to see.


I could get used to spending Autumn Saturdays in the park, where everywhere you turn there is something new. But alas, I have a feeling Autumn will eventually give way to my mortal enemy – Winter. But I hear Winter in New York is also pretty remarkable…bring it.


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