A sevenfold New York
text Tania Menai photos Guto Bertagnolli
Spring time in New York is filled with flowers and the releif of bodies, which, for months, have hibernated under hats, scarves and coats of winter. Every ray of sun, spreading flower and green bud is a reason for celebration. And here is a list of palces where the city forgets the winter and shows its human side.
1. The Riverside Park, on the West Side of Manhattan, is a hidden place away from the hustle and bustle. The park streches along the Hudson River (starting at 72nd street), with tennis courts, playgrounds, and bicycle, roller-skate, walking, and jogging paths. Take bus M5. (www.nygovparks.org)
2.Leave the park and go down 79th St. to Columbus Avenue, on the Upper West Side, to the Natural History Museum. Springtime is especially nice on this charming avenue, lined with restaurants and sidewalk tables. Try the Italian Isabella’s, at 77th, or Pomodoro, at 71st. Peek in on at least two of the classical stores: at 248, English Betsey Johnson, and, at 188, Details, with ideas for home décor. On Sunday, stroll through the GreenFlea crafts and antique market (at 76th).
3.Bryant Park is another oasis. Right on 6th Avenue, between 40th and 42nd Streets, it’s the backyard of New York’s biggest public library. Immense grassy swales with tables and chairs make it the favorite place for lunch, for reading the newspaper, or for taking your date. (www.bbc.org)
4.Union Square is especially festive, lined by restaurants, shops, hotels, and bookstores, and a flower, vegetable, fancy food, and art market. If you have a hankering for cheese bread, stop by the Coffee Shop, at 16th, and even call home from a Brazilian phone booth. (www.unionsquarenyc.org)
5.Springtime in New York would not be complete without a visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden: flowers and plants from all over the p fworld – tropical forests, orchids, Japanese flowering cherry trees, and bonsais. (tel. 718-623-7200; www.bbc.org)
6.I suggest two ways of seeing Manhattan’s skyline . The banks of the Hudson River have been renovated with bicycle and a walking paths, from Battery Park City, in the south, to Riverside Park. Or vice-versa. (Bicycle rental – tels. 212-691-6149, 212-757-2418 or 212-230-1919). Or you can take a Circle Line boat – especially at sunset: two hours (halfway around to the south) or three hours (around the whole island). Take along a sweater. Bus M50 goes to Circle Line (tel. 212-563-3200).
7.Finally, get away from the city to the Grounds for Sculpture, just an hour by train from Manhattan, an immense garden with gigantic sculptures. This is a favorite site for weddings and also has art galleries, a store and restaurants. At the Penn Station 8th Avenue entrance, take the Northeast Corridor line, toward Trento to Hamilton Station. A taxi will have you at the Museum in five minutes. (tel. 609-586-0616).
[ copyright © 2005 by Tania Menai ]