We escaped the late winter blahs for a New York City weekend. Spring was in the air and the weather was balmy – a very good thing, since we had little desire to go indoors in a city with Covid blooming. But the other springtime blooms were glorious, so feast your color-deprived eyes on some garden porn.
On Friday morning, we met our dear friends Steven and Ethel at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It was cherry blossom season, and the Garden has 40+ varieties. I had no idea cherry blossoms came in so many shapes and shades.
With only buds and blossoms on the branches, the wise old faces of these majestic trees were easy to see.
Bluebells nodded their little heads in shady spots – these were Spanish bluebells, which lack the iridescence of English bluebells, but lovely just the same.
Bulbs abounded: daffodils jonquils wearing paste hues & tulips wearing brazen colors.
The magnolias were just coming out. Who knew magnolias came in dusky mauve?
And then there the bits I liked just because…
Exhausted from our labors, we hopped the subway and clattered over to Cheesecake Corner and that venerable Brooklyn institution, Juniors, for a sin-filled lunch. (Check the menu – no health food here. This cake-and-icing model seems so appropriate…)
Parting with Steven and Ethel at Junior’s we decided to walk off some of that lunch by waddling west to Brooklyn Heights and the East River. From the Brooklyn Promenade, we had great views of the the Manhattan skyline and the amazing park lands that have been created out of old industrial moorings and massive piers on what was once a thriving East River port.
We took a ferry from the Dumbo landing across the East River to the Wall Street pier, with wonderful views of bridges.
We stayed in the Manhattan financial district, very near to the World Trade Center complex and The Battery. Last time I was at the WTC site, crews were still clearing rubble as new construction shot up all around. Now it’s a shiny new district of offices, restaurants and peculiar architecture, centered around the sombre memorial created for the people killed on 9/11/2001. Ironically, the WTC’s glitzy webpage makes no reference to the towers that once stood here, nor to all the neighboring buildings that came down in the aftermath.
On Saturday morning, we strolled The Battery while marking time for our next adventure. The Battery has been transformed from a derelict and ramshackle collection of run down buildings and trampled vegetation to a lively family-oriented park with lots of color and a very strange carousel.
From the Battery pier, we took a < ten minute ferry ride to Governor’s Island, a former Army base that has been reinvented as an outdoor urban playground. The back wall of the ferry terminal features a set of paintings inspired by ships in a bottle. These Not For Nutten paintings (a play on the Native American’s name, Pagganuck, or Nut Island) reference NYC events historic and modern. Here we have a mercreature operating the first submarine, a Narwhal with a rubber glove on its spear (ode to Covid) and a container barge carrying single use goods expected to end up in the harbor. Delightfully sly art.
The approach to Governor’s Island.
The Island has fantastic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
The Island’s interior invites wandering – on foot, or on various human-powered pedal devices.
…then climbed the Hills for more great views.
During high season, the Liggett Terrace hosts a dozen food trucks. This Easter Sunday weekend, only Little Eva’s was present – and doing a bang-up business. Great fish and chips!
Ferry ride back to the Battery Maritime Building, where the ferries berth.
Not yet having had our fill of ferrying, we dashed up to the Wall Street landing. There we caught the Soundview ferry for a trip to the Upper East Side at 90th Street.
We walked a few blocks (hobbling, in my case, since my recovering kneecap was starting to howl), the caught a crosstown #86 bus to Central Park.
We flew home on Sunday, but were able to spend the morning with Steve and Ethel with a mid-day bite at the lovely 5 Stuy Cafe. Great way to end the weekend, before the long hours stuffed into a K95 mask.