Sunday, May 16, 2010

Adventure in NYC

At peek at lovely Grammercy Park through the wrought iron fence

Visiting New York City is always an adventure.  Not that I'm so into having adventures, on the contrary.  However, any time I visit, there's some little thing that makes my trip adventurous.  It helps that my sister lives there.  She's the instigator.  Ok, I can be my own instigator, I'm just blaming this one on her.  That's fair, right? 

This visit was to help my sister move some boxes of books and other stuff from her office.  Just a couple of boxes, but heavy and bulky to carry down elevators, out the building and into my truck.  The craziness of parking in NY is another adventure, and a story for another day.  Lucky for us there was a religious holiday being celebrated and alternate-side-of-the-street parking was not in effect, halleluia!  That meant I could park on the street instead of in a parking lot where I might pay big dollar bills for that truck!

After we loaded the truck, with the help of the wonderful security guard who did the heavy lifting, we were free.  First lunch at a nearby diner for great burgers and later a little poking around a thrift shop.  My sister's office is downtown Manhattan in the '20's on the east side of the island.  Plenty of shops, restaurants, cafes, schools, a busy neighborhood.  We walked around thinking of where to go, what to do, when we ended up walking toward Irving Place and the Gramercy Park section of the city and it was just beautiful.

Talk about hidden areas of beauty in NYC and this has to be one of them.  Not to mention it's inaccessable to the regular person on the street!  We saw a fence and gates, tried the gate but it was locked.  So we walked around one side thinking the opening should be there, but nope, another locked gate. Around and around we went.  Not one gate opened!  Each gate had a shiny lock on it.  A sign said "Close the gate when leaving the park."  I told my sister "I bet you need a key to get in!"  I was right!  People were coming out of the park with a key on a lanyard!  I had never seen that before.  How interesting!  So we drooled at the pretty two acre park from behind the tall wrought iron fence.  Area residents are the only people allowed to use the park.  Some were walking, some were jogging around, kids were playing in the grass under the tall trees and amid mature rododendrons and azaleas.  It was an oasis in the middle of the big city.

The area at one time was a swamp.  The neighborhood was developed around 1831and is considered to be one of the first planned communities.  The well kept apartments were brownstones and carriage houses designed in 1883 and the 1905.  The central statue in the park is a sculpture of the area's most famous resident, Edwin Booth, who was the brother of John Wilkes Booth who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.  The area had been part of the Underground Railroad before the Civil War, one building was a Quaker Meeting House, and a flower shop was a front for a speakeasy during Prohibition.  Even President Theodore Roosevelt had a home here.  So much history in two acres! 

Since we couldn't sit in the park we decided to return to my sister's apartment to relax before planning where to have dinner.  When we were ready we got ourselves on the York Avenue bus for a ride crosstown to the west side where we had dinner at a Greek restaurant called Uncle Nick's.  That girl drags me all over Manhattan!  I said it was adventure, right?

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