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.
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’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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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”.
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.
Next day was Fathers Day and it was so fun to have Nancy and Zane join us for brunch with our boys.
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.
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!
“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. – Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead