Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's a Bird. It's a Plane. it's a Park.

Last week found me in my ancestral homeland--New Jersey--for my dad's birthday. After the big event, Older Daughter and I took the bus to NYC, where my sisters and niece joined us. Did the island of Manhattan tremble when the O'Deas landed? Nah, that was a train passing underground.

Times Square pulsed with tourists, costumed characters, conventioneers, and the occasional New Yorker caught in the madness. The blocks around Penn Station and Herald Square bustled. 

I like the energy and the opportunities for people-watching but needed a respite from noise and crowds. I found it about thirty steps above the city streets.

At nine on Monday morning, I shared the High Line with a few tourists and three groundskeepers. The High Line's a linear park built on a long-unused railroad trestle that extends from Gansevoort Street to West 30th at 10th Avenue. (Another northernly extension of the park is underway.)

I believe in re-using and re-adapting existing structures. The High Line celebrates its history with lush plants tucked between railroad tracks, but it's beautiful and important in its own right. Benches invite strollers to linger and enjoy the flowers, glimpses of the Hudson River, the sky, and the skyline.

I saw this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

My walk began in one neighborhood and ended in another so different from the first I could have been in another city.  That's my idea of a two-fer.

This trip showed me a park doesn't have to exist at ground-level. A green oasis awaits a couple of stories above the street.

Your turn: Have you discovered a rooftop garden or pocket park in an unexpected place? Have you walked the High Line? Share, please. I want to fill my bucket list with out-of-the-way green spaces. 


Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

Well I haven't discovered anything like that, but I know in San Diego (Coronado actually) they actually have signage on a 2'x 2' section of grass where 2 streets intersect that says, "world's smallest state park." That was pretty weird. I think there's a tree growing there surrounded by some grass and that sign.

Thanks for sharing your photos. It looks lovely. I shall keep my eyes open for more of these little treasure places.

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansne Schmidt

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

Too bad I didn't know you were in the area, we could have had lunch and caught up. I'm totally harmless.

New Jersey and NY were oppressively hot last week - hope that didn't spoil the trip.

Next time you're in NY look around at all the water towers in the city (especially in the Greenwich Village area) - Mayor Koch used to love them.

Lucky you can celebrate your Dad's birthday - hope it was a good one.

How old is he now?

- Patrick

Lark Howard said...

How fun! Rooftop gardens are one of my favorite kinds of spaces, though not in Houston in the summer. :-)

Jennette Marie Powell said...

I walked the High Line when I was in NY a couple of years ago for RWA. Very cool! Definitely something worth experiencing. My friend and I also walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Liz Flaherty said...

Sounds lovely. I've only been to NYC once, but would love to go back simply for reasons like this (and more Broadway plays).

Coleen Patrick said...

Love NYC! (And maybe I've said this before, but I'm a Jersey girl too.) We went to the high line a few years back, but it was the last stop on a day of walking around the city and we ended up in a pizza shop nearby instead of walking it. :)Next time I will put it first on our itinerary-I like your pics!

August McLaughlin said...

Beautiful post, Pat! I love visiting New York City for that very reason - the rooftop gardens and artwork.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patricia/Jansen,
I won't make a special trip to Coronado just to see that tiny park, but I'm glad the space is big enough for a tree. The story behind the park/tree begs to be told. Hmmm.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
An impressive water tower sat on the roof of the building across Madison from our hotel. On my next trip, I'll make a point of seeking out more.

The heat didn't spoil the trip, but it did drive us indoors. I had hoped to have a drink at the Library Hotel's Bookmarks Rooftop Lounge, but the temps ruled out that stop.

My dad hates to be fussed over, so I agreed to quit talking about his birthday. It was fun, though.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark,
I'm going to make a study of rooftop gardens in Houston and elsewhere. I loved the High Line because I could appreciate the city from it but didn't have to look out for bicyclists and taxi drivers.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Jennette! You are way ahead of me.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is on my bucket list.

I was at RWA 2011 in NYC. Wish I'd known you then.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Liz,
It's taken me a long time to understand that, while I love cities, I also need time out from the hustle-bustle. The High Line (on a Monday morning after the workday started) gave me a breather but keep me in the flow.

I went to a show. So fun!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Never apologize to me for going to a pizza shop. I always eat pizza when back in the NJ/NY area. We must fill up to sustain ourselves during our long months away from pizza central.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi August,
I wish my visit had coincided with your earlier one, but I caught your singing gig on youtube. Nice job!