Andrea F

Archive for the ‘NYC Parks’ Category

Day 89: The Cloisters

In NYC, NYC Art, NYC Gardens, NYC Museums, NYC Parks, things to do in NYC on August 28, 2009 at 11:56 pm


In one of Manhattan’s northernmost neighborhoods, nestled amongst trees in Fort Tryon Park, overlooking the Hudson River to the west, high on a hilltop, sits ‘The Cloisters’. Named for the found remains of five medieval, open-air, covered walkways (cloisters), which served as a foundation for the landmarked structure that opened to the public in 1938, the museum is the only one in the United States dedicated solely to medieval art. Though not an exact replica of any particular medieval building, the museum, a branch of The Met, is comprised of galleries and gardens through which more than 5000 pieces of art are exhibited, some dating back as far as 800 A.D. From sculptures in wood and stone, to altars, tapestries and unique religious relics from centuries-old French monasteries, a day at The Cloisters is a walk through history, where visitors come face to face with artifacts from Romanesque and Gothic periods. Summertime is considered an ideal season to visit as three of the cloisters in the museum open onto gardens planted according to botanical records specific to the medieval period. For tourists visiting from abroad, the scene may look somewhat familiar, the old-world stone structure and ornate medieval ornamentation, but for city-folk, it’s like nothing else—certainly not your typical day at the museum.


Day 86: Prospect Park

In Brooklyn, NYC, NYC for free, NYC Parks, things to do in NYC on August 25, 2009 at 11:45 pm


Bordering the cozy Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, known for its historic brownstones and tree-lined streets, lies the borough’s 585-acre green space, Prospect Park. Designed and built in the late 1800s by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, also known for Manhattan’s gem Central Park, it welcomes thousands of visitors year-round who go looking for an escape to nature. With endless activities from hiking the trails, running or bicycling on the 3.35-mile path, pedal-boating on the 60-acre lake, and bird-watching the more than 200 bird species known to perch in the park, summer is the ideal season to stop by. For the laziest of activities, visit the park’s Long Meadow that sprawls nearly a mile in length offering endless hills of grass, giant shade trees and plenty of open space perfect for a summer afternoon picnic. Enjoy the bright blue sky, the gentle sounds of leaves rustling in the breeze and the warmth of sun of your face. If only summer could last forever!

Day 81: Movies With a View

In Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, NYC for free, NYC Parks, things to do in NYC on August 20, 2009 at 11:58 pm


As if a movie on the big screen, outdoors on a warm summer night isn’t magical enough, once a week in Dumbo you can watch one the under the lights of the Brooklyn Bridge and those of the Manhattan skyline twinkling in the distance. Now in its tenth year, Syfy’s Movies With A View makes a spot on the grass in Brooklyn Bridge Park the most coveted piece of land on Thursday nights. Crowds gather early spreading blankets and sprawling out, to catch up with friends, share a picnic or do nothing but relax to the sounds of Brooklyn Radio while waiting for the sun to set. (Movies start at sundown). Aside from the free entertainment aspect of it, the event is one of summer’s best activities simply because of the setting. You very well may find yourself swept away more by the view than the movie itself!

 Through August 27

Day 79: Lasker Pool

In Central Park, NYC, NYC for free, NYC Parks, NYC Sports and Recreation, Summer 2009, things to do in NYC on August 18, 2009 at 11:46 pm


On a hot summer day there’s nothing quite like jumping in a pool and then resting in the warmth of the sun. Mention the pool in Central Park to people and most of them will say they didn’t even know there was one. That may be because it’s nestled mid-park all the way at the top, between 106th and 108th Streets just next to the Harlem Meer. During winter months it’s Lasker Rink where you’ll find ice-skating and high school hockey games, but at summertime it’s the oh-so-inviting Lasker Pool, opened in 1966 thanks to the generous donation by the wealthy Lasker sisters. In its off hours, the glassine, bright blue oval set amongst the trees creates a serene waterscape that passersby can admire from afar, but once the crowds arrive, it’s all fun and games as children laugh and play, and splash about. Bordering the pool itself is an arc of concrete ‘bleachers’ where crowds sit, and sunbathers bathe. Remember to bring the essentials – proper swim attire (including flip flops!), a towel, a lock and of course the sunblock. It’s a great escape without even leaving the city, and best, it’s free!

11am – 3pm, 4-7pm daily, through September 5.

Day 77: Pool Parties Series

In Brooklyn, NYC, NYC for free, NYC Parks, Summer 2009, things to do in NYC, Williamsburg on August 16, 2009 at 11:54 pm


There isn’t a pool, but that’s not to say it isn’t a party. Started in 2006 and named for its original venue, the empty McCarren Park Pool, it’s Jelly’s free summer music series known as the Pool Parties. Now taking place at 90 Kent Street in Williamsburg at East River Park, the stage sits along the East River with the Manhattan skyline as the main backdrop. Inside the park, that feels more like a lot, teams of hipsters in short shorts play organized games of basketball and dodgeball while onlookers sizzle in the hot summer sun. Though there’s little in the way of shade, tents border the park selling beer, wine and food, to keep you standing…or of course make you dizzy. If you can handle the heat, it’s a cool Sunday afternoon out of doors. Cool as in all right, that is. 

Sundays 2-8pm through August 30.






Day 74: River Rocks

In Meatpacking District, NYC, NYC for free, NYC Music, NYC Parks, things to do in NYC on August 13, 2009 at 11:42 pm


There’s no shortage of fun to be had at Hudson River Park this summer. Inside the 550 acres that run down Manhattan’s west side, from 59th Street to Battery Park, with twenty-seven piers, one would be challenged to feel bored. And though sunbathing and kayaking are only by day, good times go on after dark as well. As part of the park’s River Rocks series, bands light up the stage for free nighttime shows at Pier 54, on the water just west of the meatpacking district. Under the black sky it’s tough to make out the pier from the street, but you can’t miss the rusted steel arch at the entrance. Another hint might be the crowds of people out to take advantage of a no-cover open-air show. When the weather’s nice, it’s all about being outdoors. It’s even better when there’s music to move to. Uh huh. That’s something to ‘yea’ about!

Day 71: Bronx Zoo

In Bronx, NYC, NYC Parks, NYC Zoos, things to do in NYC on August 10, 2009 at 11:50 pm


It’s not everyday in the city that you get a chance to walk along a winding road past African Plains and Himalayan Highlands where birds call one another from distant trees and lions sunbathe under the open sky. As part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Bronx Zoo, which covers 265 acres of land in the Bronx borough of New York City, is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States. Aside from the expected, lions, tigers and bears, there’s a roster of some pretty exotic species like the Pygmy Marmoset, world’s smallest monkey that measures a mere five inches, African Wild Dogs, and the Rhinoceros, that, sure, is nothing new, but pretty amazing to see in person. It’s a day-long adventure, to cover it all, but a peaceful getaway from the concrete streets. Wear your walking shoes and be prepared to ‘ooh’ and ‘awe’ at some of the world’s most beautiful creatures, that are, oddly enough, living right here with us, in New York City!

Day 64: Lunch Hour in Bryant Park

In NYC, NYC for free, NYC Parks, things to do in NYC on August 3, 2009 at 11:47 pm


With Broadway on the lawn, afternoon knitting classes, ping-pong and an open-air library known as ‘The Reading Room’, one could find something to do everyday of summer in Bryant Park. If you can handle the mob-scene, lunch hour may be the best time to go. Aside from the ton of activities and events that take place mid-day, it’s a hot time for ultimate people watching, mainly the throngs of mid-town business men and women in suits, lunching at every other table. Find a place to sit in the shadow of a tree in one of the allees or in a sunny spot next to the lawn. Bring lunch or pick something up from one of the cafe stands; take a break in an Adirondack chair on the Southwest Porch or keep busy surfing the web on free Wi-Fi. On Monday afternoons, just next to the airstream trailer at the East end, there’s a piano player. As you can probably imagine, the sweet melodies make for an unexpectedly peaceful lunch break.

Day 62: Picnic at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park

In Brooklyn, Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, NYC for free, NYC Parks, things to do in NYC on August 1, 2009 at 11:04 pm


If there is a postcard-perfect picture of a New York City afternoon, it’s one taken at Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park under a bright sky, on a grass of green, in between two great bridges of lower Manhattan, and the city skyline just across the sparkling East River. It’s a coveted spot for weekend picnickers, a mere nine acres, located on the edge of Brooklyn, in the artistic-industrial Dumbo neighborhood. The park’s entrance sits right next to an old tobacco warehouse, now a roofless, red brick structure and can’t-miss landmark. Bring a blanket, the kids, and a Frisbee, for a day of soaking up some summer sun…with some incredible views. Construction is underway on the new Brooklyn Bridge Park which will consist of 85 acres of green space, including the current, adjacent Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Day 58: Gondola Ride in Central Park

In Central Park, NYC, NYC Architecture, NYC Parks, things to do in NYC on July 28, 2009 at 11:51 pm


Everyone knows the Central Park rowboats, but unless you are able to see through them, you might miss the gondola that shares the Lake with them. The best time to go for a ride is actually at the end of the day, once the unskilled rowers are back on land and the lone oarsman is the gondolier. It’s not Venice, but for thirty bucks and not having to buy a transatlantic plane ticket, it’s a lovely second best. Once off the dock at the boathouse, sit back with a glass of wine and relax under the evening sky with breathtaking views of the park and historical Upper West Side architecture, and sweet serenades by the man of the boat. Though it can be just as lovely with a friend, the scene is a perfect recipe for romance, so if that’s a possibility, just be sure you want it. Word on the water is that the gondolier witnesses proposals regularly—only thing is, they don’t always end in yes!