Exploring Morris Jumel Mansion, bird street art, the lower East river and Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Apart from the wonderful Central Park there are many green spaces in NYC. One of those is the interesting Morris Jumel Mansion, set around 160th Street – Anything North of 120th is often considered to be not the most desirable of areas.

I had set off to see some street art, accompanied by Liz – Debbie’s personal assistant. Being blind, Debbie needs someone to open her post and do things that only a sighted person can do. Liz is an amazing assistant: in her mid-20s, she has a gifted voice, sings at Riverside Church, and does a lot of singing around NYC – even travelling to Europe. 

Liz, who lives in this area, first showed me the lovely coach houses that were built for the workers in the house and that retain an incongruous charm, right in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by high-rises.
It was an area that I would never have explored had she not shown me.
Morris Jumel Mansion – the oldest remaining house in Manhattan – has a lovely garden. Built in 1765 on Mount Morris (one of the highest points on Manhattan) with superb views of Hudson and Harlem rivers and beyond, it was a summer villa for its owners who were loyal to England.
At the time of the American Revolution, they had to leave their home, which was then occupied by General Washington. Jumel bought the house which eventually was purchased by the City of New York and turned into a Museum.
The house was closed but the gardens were open for exploring and I flouted the rules by letting Alfie off-leash!
The area has changed little since the 1800s and during the Harlem renaissance it was known as ‘Sugar Hill’ – Paul Robeson and Duke Ellington lived in the area.
After visiting the house and garden, I took off with Alfie to visit the street art that has appeared in the area thanks to the Audubon trust – Audubon being a famous ornithologist. I was somewhat disappointed.
Coming from Bristol, where ‘UpFest’ is an annual celebration of street art with many exquisite birds adorning the houses, I am used to work of a higher quality.
Having said that, these are painted by up and coming local artists to whom the Audubon Trust are giving a unique opportunity. 
Walking around, we passed a large and beautiful cemetery where Audubon is buried so I photographed his monument.

In terms of exploration, I discovered – through my daily newsletters of free/inexpensive things to do in New York – that there was a weekend of ‘Jane’s walks’: https://janeswalk.org/ 
I decided to go with Alfie to an area that I would never normally visit – the lower East side, along the East river. I met a delightful group of people, with 2 sweet young women as our guides. It was so interesting to visit a new area. 
Another lovely place to visit is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I love botanic gardens and always discover new things.
I use milk thistle as a herb and was happy to find and photograph a milk thistle plant, horseradish and crimson clover as well as a small field of bluebells.
Given that I missed the bluebells in the woods opposite my house, it was good to see them – although they are the Spanish, not English, variety!