The Hudson & East rivers & other park events

The Hudson river runs down the West side of Manhattan past Riverside Park. It is flanked by a cycle/pedestrian track most of the way down and in the summer the City Parks organise many “Summer on the Hudson”free events. Tiffany (who I met in Riverside Park, lives with David), Debby and I took our 3 dogs to one of the outside concerts.

I also went to an event at Pier I at 70th Street where we were regaled with stories of the Rail Yard where I took pictures of the old Grain Elevator which was there in 1877. Pier I (revamped since that time) stretches out into the Hudson quite a way.

Debbie and I also went to an outside concert on the Hudson on a beautiful evening where we listened to a jazz trio led by a very good Bass player.

The East River is less developed until you get right down to East 13th Street where the East River Park begins, that leads to Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan – where there is a famous scene in Desperately Seeking Susan (a film I first saw in Washington, and I still love it).

Higher up the East River is the small Carl Schurz Park that contains the Mayor’s House: Gracie Mansion (t became so 75 years ago).

On Tuesdays they have 4 visits (of an hour’s duration) and I was lucky to get my name down and do the free visit, which is really interesting.

They do not allow you to take photographs, but I took one from the outside that shows the upstairs where Mayor Bill de Blasio and his family live (He became Mayor in 2014 and I believe he will be re-elected). I really like him – I met him and his wife on New Year’s Day 2016 (see very early Blog entry). She is a lawyer who happens to be black and his children are smart mixed-race children, which sets a great example for tolerance and racial integration.

Like most people in New York, he has no respect for the ‘President’. Every Friday morning he is on New York Public Radio (that I listen to every morning I am in NYC) and I admire his openness and intelligent debate as well as his ‘can do’ attitude.

Gracie Mansion has some lovely art work and they give you a brochure to accompany your visit. I recommend that people go when visiting New York – the Park Department’s website is excellent. It was also on the website that I found out I could join all of New York’s public leisure centres for $25 for the year!! (because I am a ‘Senior’, being over 62).

As a swimmer, I went off to buy the regulation swim hat (you cannot swim without it – I found a great nylon one) and the next day signed on at the swimming pool I chose, 20/30 minutes away by subway and walk, at 50th street between 10th and 11th Avenue. I could have used any others I wanted. It is an old-fashioned swimming pool but just right and I highly recommend that anyone who visit New York for a while should consider joining.

From the Park you can see the Queensboro Bridge that features in Woody Allen’s ‘Manhattan’ where he and Diane Keaton are sitting on a bench just under the bridge.

Debbie and I went to the Karaoke evening on Pier I and both sang – our dogs were very tolerant!

 

One of the strangest phenomenon I saw in Central Park are the ‘wedding photos’ being taken.

The brides and grooms are real enough but these are staged photographs by studios (probably at a great cost) with clothes they provide, taken in advance of the wedding because ‘on the day they will be too busy’????

 

Here are a couple of examples:

 

And the bar in Riverside Park, at 103rd Street, is really pretty in the evening. Roni, Tiffany, David, Debby and I met for a drink one very hot early evening.

 

I met lovely people in Central Park, all because of Alfie the Wonderdog. One fruitful encounter, at “Pain Quotidien” was Pedro.

 

He is Chilean, a guitar player and a student of Gene Bertoncini – 80 and phenomenally talented – who is adored by the younger players.

Pedro told me about the Thursday jazz nights at ‘Ryan’s Daughter’ Irish Pub (loved that film…). I grabbed Debbie and off we went.

We had an amazing couple of nights there, with Debbie singing a couple of numbers with Gene and a couple of other musicians.

As reported in my last blog, Gene, Pedro and Roni all came to our party.

 

Roni is an Israeli guitarist and guitar teacher who has a Tunisian family background.

We ended up having a nice Italian meal (I asked for my gnocchi to be drowned in the creamy garlic and sage sauce and I wasn’t disappointed) in Harlem, where he lives (up and coming, very like St Paul’s in Bristol).

 

It is a very lively area and we wandered down the street to a lovely bar afterwards.

 

Most of the time in New York I cook for me and Debbie as we eat really healthily and have lots of smoothies with loads of ginger.

 

Occasionally we have a bit of a bagel-fest as we love them. I really like the pumpernickel ones.

Central Park is always a joy, revealing itself through the seasons and always with new things to discover.

 

I took a lovely pic of Alfie at the ‘Pain Quotidien’ , popping his head out to say hello to the passing dogs, under the pansies (one of my favourite flowers).

 

The boat lake is for people to sail their model boats and is a very popular place to grab a coffee and sit for a while.

 

Bryant Park has many events and is a great space to grab lunch and sit, which is what Alfie and I did one day.

 

We walked past a salsa-dancing event as we left the park.

 

Arriving at the North West corner of Central Park after walking across Morningside Park on a beautiful sunny day, we came across someone who was reading in a hammoc they had strung between 2 trees – they looked very content.

 

Both Central Park and Morningside Park have lots of turtles in the lakes -they are really cute.

 

Another area I love in Central Park is the Ramble, which is a joy to walk around.

 

Central Park has many water fountains – I came across a bird having a bath in the low-level part of the fountain which you can fill for the dogs to drink from!

 

There was a music event on the Hudson higher up from where Debbie lives – it was rather too loud for Alfie so we didn’t stay long, but just enough for me to have a chat with a lovely young man from Guatemala whose father was a minister.

 

Racoons are getting more and more brazen. I caught one head-first in a trash bin.

 

When he saw us, he ran up a tree, much to Alfie’s delight. I had to drag him away!

 

And in Riverside Park there is a tree that I really like – it is a locust bean tree that has really fascinatingly twisted trunk.

 

Finally, New York must be the most oft-filmed location in the world.

 

This filming was taking place a minute from where I stay.

 

I had to walk through the set to get to the entrance to the park.

 

It was for an NYC TV Series:

 

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, starring Rachel Brosnahan (in the pink) and set in the 1950s.

 

It was great fun to watch the filming and chat to some of the extras.

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