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Posts Tagged ‘Central Park’

The Conservatory Gardens
How cute is that couple in the background?

A spring day in the park.

Today was a good day.  I was in New York City.  More specifically on the Upper West Side and in Central Park, both of which feel like home.  It is hard to believe that it has been almost twenty years since I moved from a small town in Louisiana

into my first NYC apartment on W. 95th St. between Central Park West and Columbus. Surprisingly, I adjusted quickly to my kitchen in a closet, doing laundry in the basement and taking the subway to get around.  I fell in love with New York City. Everyday was a learning experience.  I loved just walking down the busy streets, meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures, trying a different cuisines from one of the many restaurants that existed on every block, seeing pieces of art in museums that I had only seen in books, shopping at cute dress stores and enjoying Central Park.  I did the last two today.

Finding three fabulous dresses at a tempo couture definitely put a little pep in my step, but it wasn’t until I wandered into Central Park at 72nd St. that a feeling of bliss came over me.  This profound satisfaction, happiness and joy might have had a little to do with the ice cream that I enjoyed walking thorough the park, but I think it mainly can be attributed to the flood of memories I had of being in the park over the past two decades.  Below is some of the greatest hits from the reel that rolled in my mind.

Countless Days in the Park with Perdita– Before my beloved Lexie, I had a Dalmatian named Perdita.  Living close to the park was great.  Perdita joined the “dog party” twice a day for a morning and afternoon play date.  Her two best friends were Winston, a great dane and Payton, a yellow lab.  I also remember Betty the pug.  Perdita loved all seasons and would run though massive amounts of snow in the winter and was never shy to take a dip in the lake in the summer.

Perdita in the snow in the winter of 1996.

A furry friend admiring Perdita swimming.

Bethesda Fountain – I have always thought this is one of the prettiest places in New York City and it is a great place to people watch.  The fountain is also known as the Angel of Waters and is one of the largest fountains in the city.  It is no surprise that it has served as a backdrop for many movies.

Bethesda Fountain

The Great Lawn – This 55-acre green pasture is in the center of Central Park.  I have many memories of catching some rays on the weekend, picnicking with friends and going to concerts.

I don't know the guy to the right...who said New Yorker's are not friendly!

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink – One of the happiest memories I have of Central Park is when my family visited me in New York for the first time.  We went ice skating…all of us.  I don’t really remember my family doing activities like that when I was young, but being in Central Park got us all on skates and gave me a memory of us enjoying an activity together.

My Mom and sister.

Back in the 90s.

The Boathouse Cafe’– This is a great place to have lunch especially in the summer. I often would go there with my friends that would be visiting from out-of-town. Another fond memory was seeing Blondi with my friends Monique and Dawn at the New Years Eve Party in 1997 at the Boathouse.  I still remember belting out Heart of Glass and Rapture!

Having lunch with Donna and Rebecca at the Boathouse Cafe'.

New Year's Eve 1997 at the Boathouse Cafe' with Dawn and Monique.

The Conservatory Garden– Two main memories come to mind when I think of the Conservatory Garden.  The first is taking my wedding pictures in the fall of 1998. All I am going to say about that is my friends and I still laugh about the my candid photographer and family drama.  The other memory that stands out is meeting my friend Jill when we would take a lunch break on the days we worked at Mount Sinai Hospital. She had no idea that she played an important role in the healing process of my divorce.  Thanks to her, I still enjoy the Conservatory Garden.

Monique touching up my make-up for my wedding pictures in the conservatory gardens.

All you can do is laugh.

The Conservatory Gardens really does make a nice backdrop for wedding photos.

The Zoo Visiting the zoo with my son will always be near and dear to my heart.  It is just a fun place to be and even more fun to watch his excitement.When he was little he liked the Tisch Children’s Zooand as he became older we visited the Central Park Zoo often.

Tisch Children's Zoo

My son with a Polar Bear at the Central Park Zoo.

Victoria Gardens – When the winter months come to a close, so does the Wollman Rink.  During the summer months Victoria Gardens appears and it is a fun family amusement park for young children.  This was always one of my favorite things to do with my son when he was young.

Victoria Gardens

Rock Climbing– Climbing the rocks located towards the south end of the park has always been one of my son’s favorite things to do.  He learned to conquer new heights at two and a half.  It still is one of his favorite past times when we are in the park.

Taking on the rocks at two and a half.

This past winter.

Playgrounds and Afternoon Snacks– With twenty playgrounds, there is always a place for the kids to be kids.  On a summer day there is nothing like splashing in one of the spray parks after playing in the sand.  Well maybe the only thing better is getting a tasty treat.

My nephew with a tasty treat.

My niece on the playground.

Model Boat Sailing – Between April and October, the best sailing in New York City is at Central Park’s Conservatory Water.  This was a really big hit with my son and nephew.  In the summer you can also sail these model sail boats that are for rent on Friday and Saturday night under the stars.  It is really cool to see the illuminated boats.

Sailing Away

Carriage Rides – Okay, I have to tell you I am really not a huge fan of carriage rides.  I feel bad for the horses and it is expensive.  I did succumb twice.  The first time was when my sister and kids came to visit.  I was recovering from foot surgery and it was a pretty easy way to get around the park.  Surprisingly, we learned a lot about the history of the park.  The second time was when I was in the park with my god-daughter.  Her big blue eyes swayed me and her smile sealed the deal.

A visit with the family.

Carriage Ride

I love Central park because it is a special place.  It has brought me and my family together at different times in my life and also has been wonderful oasis to gather with my friends and spend quality time with my son.

My Aunt who was visiting from Louisiana on one of the bridges with the upper west side skyline in the background.

 Do you have a favorite place that has brought your loved ones close together?

My parents in the mid 90s.

My son in the same spot in 2011.

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Times Square

Today I was in NYC and had the same energized feeling that I had eighteen years ago when I moved to the “Big Apple”.  My son shares the same love of the city.  I thought it would be great to pass along some easy tips to navigate the city for other families.

Some of my favorite resources are the apps that I have on my phone, NYC Way and HopStopNYC.    I love NYC Way!  It has over 30 icons ranging from things to do, street fairs, places to eat and ATM locator.  I used it today to find a place to have lunch close to Sony Wonder Technology Lab.  I also use HopStop when I am not sure which subway to take or which direction to walk once I have come out of  the subway.  This app is great!

Sony Wonder Technology Lab

I am a planner, so I  check things out online since I am always looking for inexpensive fun things to do.  Three resources that I use often are Time Out NY Kids , Central Park and TheatreMania .  I have found really cool things to do on Time Out NY Kids like having tea with Eloise at the Plaza for girls or outdoor movies on the Intrepid (the coolest place ever to watch Top Gun!)for boys. Time Out NY Kids is also great to find out what is going on at the museums.  Sony Wonder Technology Lab is free and has several workshops for $10.  My son never gets tired of The Museum of Natural History and he use to love the NY Children’s museum when he was younger.

Central Park

The official website of Central Park is fabulous!  There is so much to do in the park from Victoria Gardens Amusement Park in the summer and Trump’s Wollman’s Skating Rink in the winter to the Zoo and Carousel. One of my favorite things to do with my son is rent model boats to sail at Conservatory Water and have lunch at the Boathouse Cafe.  Check out their list of 176 things to do in Central Park on the Things to See page of their website.

Make sure you check out sites like Living Social Family Edition New York Kids Deals and Coupons  and Groupon.  These sights are a great way to save regardless of where you live, so subscribe and you will get notified of great deals by email.  Just last week Living Social had a deal to get two tickets to Victoria Gardens Amusement Park for $21 instead of $43.

Theatre Mania is a great place to get discounted broadway tickets.  Mary Poppins is great and there is usually discounted tickets, but there are a lot of other off-broadway shows for kids too like Freckleface Strawbery, The Bernestain Bears & Pinkalicious.  You can also find discounted tickets on this site to other things like exhibits at Discovery Times Square or Top of the Rock.

Freckleface Strawberry

NYCWay & Time Out NY Kids are also an excellent resource to find great places to eat.  One of my favorite places is Ellen’s Stardust Diner where you feel like you are in the 1950’s with the singing wait staff.  My son loved Mars 2112, so I have brought him there many times when he was younger despite the fact that it is overpriced food that is fair.  There is no where else that you can ride a space ship to your table and meet aliens.

I could go on and on about NYC and things to do with kids.  I hope the resources I shared will help families visiting NYC or those who live in the surrounding areas just heading in for the day.   NYC can be a great place to take kids.  There are many affordable things to do and it really is easy to get around.  Please comment should you have questions. I would love to help make your trip to my favorite place on earth the best place you will ever take your kids!

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