central park in the summer

July 23, 2012 |  Category:   life nyc outings remembering

You know, Central Park is pretty great. We seem to find ourselves there only a few times a year, but I’m always reminded by how great it is whenever we go. It’s like every every few steps you see something new: a live band, a performer, a wedding party, baseball games, one of the many playgrounds, a zoo.
Mark used to work in the park for five years and still went in once a week for the past 3 years until that consulting job ended. You can see the restaurant where he was the Pastry Chef at the end of the lake with the rowboats. Central Park used to be his park. He would walk through the park to get to the restaurant 5 mornings a week all year round, often before the sun would rise and when only the joggers, dog walkers and bird watchers were out. He’d get to see the park before most people after a fresh overnight snowfall, the snow still pristine yet to be tracked by footsteps. The best days, however, may have been in the Fall, witnessing the park transform a little bit everyday until it all the trees were ablaze with color. I don’t think he misses that job necessarily, but I do know that he misses being in the park.

 

One of my fondest memories of the park is the baby shower that we had at the restaurant when I was pregnant with Mia. There was a storm the night before and we woke up to about 6 inches of snow. We had worried that it might discourage our guests from coming and I had to waddle very carefully through icy sidewalks and navigate curbside snow piles myself. The walk from the subway to the restaurant is about a mile and I was 8 months pregnant, but the trek was well worth it. The snow was pristine and glistening heavily on the branches and the lake was frozen over. It made for a very memorable back drop to our baby shower.

But above all, I remember the park for being the place that we used to hang out all the time during college. It wasn’t close to my art school which was all the way downtown in the East Village, but the express 4 train got you there in half an hour. Our spot was the Sheep Meadow. I feel like we were there at least once a few times a week. There was even one night in the early Fall, September of 1989 I think, when my friends and I gathered right before midnight just in case the prediction of the world ending that day was true. We had been reading a lot about conspiracy theories and end of the world predictions and we thought, well hey, if by any chance the world was going to end, we’d rather spend it in the middle of a large grassy lawn in Central Park than hiding inside. We brought blankets and laid on the grass staring at the few stars we can see in the city. When nothing happened after midnight, we went home.

It had been a long time since I’d been to Sheep Meadow and quite possibly not since those college days, but we went with the girls this weekend. I spotted the tree where my friends and I would always meet and I laughed when I remembered how we gathered in the middle of the field just in case the end of the year predictions were true. Crazy kids. As I watched the girls playing frisbee, I thought to myself that I should probably tell them that story one of these days.

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  • Christina Z. July 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    This is lovely… I love the way you weave together the memories you have of Central Park throughout the different stages of your life. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tara July 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Love this post! Especially these photos. Am taking a trip up there soon and can’t wait to go to the park.

  • Christine Witt (Brush Dance) July 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    There is *nothing* like Central Park – always so much to take in.

  • l o v e l y t h i n g s July 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I love seeing your photos of Central Park…when my children were young we were living outside the city in CT wishing we were city dwellers…every chance we got I took the kids into the city. I would usually park at the Met and so one way or another we would start or end or day in Central Park. They had their favorite playground…I’m not sure of its real name…but we called it the Granite Slide Park…do you know that one? I’ll bet your girls would love it!

  • Annie July 24, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Great photos – Central Park is the best!

  • Erin July 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve only experienced Central Park in the spring. One day I’ll go back and spend time there in the summer. A picnic in Central Park is on my list of must-dos…

  • Lotte Søborg July 25, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Love your blog most for this I think, that it gives an impression of everyday life in New York, not like watching CSI NY and the likes!!My family spend the year I was 6 living on Long Island, I have few memories but one is of the city with x-mas lights, overwhelming when coming from Copenhagen in 1963. Haven’t been back, but you make me wan’t to go.

  • linn July 27, 2012 at 5:55 am

    wow, lovely pictures!

  • michi July 28, 2012 at 2:40 am

    You are so pretty Jenna…please smile sometimes….

  • slovakia July 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    First of all I want to say terrific blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing. I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Appreciate it!

  • becky. July 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    i love how you post pictures of the girls without making them smile. beautiful.

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