NYC June Diary, Week Two: Friends and Family

Way back – and I do mean wayyyyy back – when my friend Nancy and I thought we were being subversive by reading Ayn Rand in the high school library (thus missing out on the truly wild things our peers were doing) we endlessly plotted our escape from small-town Indiana to those skyscrapers built by the noble Howard Roark.

“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.” - Ayn Rand (image from ankita-s.blogspot.com)

“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.” – Ayn Rand (image from ankita-s.blogspot.com)

Never say never. Despite the fact that she now lives in rural Maryland and I live most of the time surrounded by chickens (but alas, not goats!) in So Cal, we recently got together for a perfect June weekend amid the skyscrapers in NYC.

Nancy and Zane in Central Park

Nancy and Zane in Central Park

Nancy’s jam is horticulture so our first order of business was to take her and her husband, Zane, on a tour of Central Park. The skies had cleared from all the recent rain and it was a beautiful day for a walk in the Park. First stop was Bethesda Terrace and The Angel of the Waters statue. Possibly my favorite spot in all of NYC.

Thank you Vaux and Olmstead! (wikipedia image)

Thank you Vaux and Olmstead! (wikipedia image)

We also wandered The Ramble a bit, which I love because it’s just a few blocks off Central Park West and yet you feel like you’ve discovered a secret woodland.

The Ramble (image from bridgeandtunnelclub.com)

The Ramble (image from bridgeandtunnelclub.com)

We made the obligatory stop at Strawberry Fields and were transported back several decades as we watched groupies gather around the spot (hey, we’re all on some sort of pilgrimage, aren’t we?) while a young man strummed his guitar and sang (badly, I’m afraid) Blowin’ in the Wind.

Strawberry Fields (image from centralpark.com)

Strawberry Fields (image from centralpark.com)

Nancy and Zane then ventured up to 105th Street to visit the Park’s Conservatory Garden. I didn’t even know it existed – it’s on the list for our next trip!

Central Park Conservatory Garden (image from centralparknyc.org)

Central Park Conservatory Garden (image from centralparknyc.org)

With blue skies smiling on us again the next day, we headed up to The Bronx to visit The New York Botanical Garden , where we enjoyed the Wild Medicine and Four Seasons exhibits. We also took the (free) tram ride, which allowed us to discover parts of the Garden we hadn’t seen before – it was a perfect day to visit the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.

The CE stops to smell the roses.

The CE stops to smell the roses.

Roses everywhere!

Roses everywhere!

"Autumn" from Philip Haas' "Four Seasons" at the NY Botanical Garden

“Autumn” from Philip Haas’ “Four Seasons” at the NY Botanical Garden

"Spring" was my favorite from "The Four Seasons"

“Spring” was my favorite from “The Four Seasons”

Lily pad at the Garden pond (polloplayer photo)

Lily pad at the Garden pond (polloplayer photo)

Zane and the CE take a break from touring.

Zane and the CE take a break from touring.

We were surprised at how light the crowds were on this beautiful day at the Garden. Are people put off by the location in the Bronx? Or, like us, did they not know there is a handy Metro North stop just for the Botanical Garden?

Metro North stop: Clean, safe and just outside the back entrance to the Garden.

Metro North stop: Clean, safe and just outside the back entrance to the Garden.

That evening we took Nancy and Zane to one of our favorite restaurants: Beyoglu on the UES. It was a beautiful summer evening and lucky for us, our server, Nina, recognized us from our last visit and offered us one of the coveted sidewalk tables. Oh, the falafel. Oh, the cacik. And the bread! And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Nina brought out baklava and almond pudding. She also convinced us to try a glass of raki a chilled, anise-flavored after dinner drink. You add cold water and it turns into the cloudy liquid known as “lion’s milk”.

Dessert at Beyoglu. Thank you, Nina!

Dessert at Beyoglu. Thank you, Nina!

Refreshing "raki" to sip after dinner at Beyoglu

Refreshing “raki” to sip after dinner at Beyoglu

After dinner, we walked home through the Park. The CE and Zane saw a raccoon scurry down some steps into the pond. (Is there anyplace raccoons don’t live?) We finished the evening with a trip up to our building’s rooftop where we could look down on the city and beyond.

Twilight in Central Park

Twilight in Central Park

City lights

City lights

Next day was Fathers Day and it was so fun to have Nancy and Zane join us for brunch with our boys.

Happy Fathers Day, CE!

Happy Fathers Day, CE!

My guys.

My guys.

We finished out our city visit with another night at the ballet, this time with Daniel and his friend, Mary, to see Swan Lake. Angie and Bobby came in to see the matinee the next day.

Daniel and Mary

Daniel and Mary

Bobby and Angie at Lincoln Center

Bobby and Angie at Lincoln Center

Our last day in the city was a Sunday. We went to the new downtown Redeemer service with Daniel and his friend, Alanna, and then to Pastis for brunch where Taylor and Christine joined us. After a little bit of shopping at Bloomingdale’s afterwards (very little for Taylor!), we said goodbye with the happy knowledge that both boys will be coming home soon. Friends, family and so much fun in the city. Lucky us!

Christine, Taylor, Daniel and Alanna after brunch at Pastis

Christine, Taylor, Daniel and Alanna after brunch at Pastis

Daniel scored bigger on the shopping trip.

Daniel scored bigger on the shopping trip.

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. – Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Sunset view from our apartment.

Sunset view from our apartment.

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Family, Big Fun, Friends, Gastronomy, New York city, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to NYC June Diary, Week Two: Friends and Family

  1. Phyllis says:

    So much fun to share your trips from my sofa in Santa B. Thank you for all the work you do to bring it to me. Nice to know the Boys will soon be here to share a brief time with Granny G

  2. Katherine says:

    Atlas himself could not “shrug” when gazing at those views. Another beautiful travelogue entry 🙂 We live in your wake.

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