Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring in your Step

There are many things I miss about Chicago, however there is one thing which surprisingly I do not miss one bit: driving.  Yes, it would have been convenient during the monsoon on Saturday do be able to hop into a vehicle and save the life of an umbrella, but for the most part I am quite happy to rely on my two feet and the NY Subway System.  I do love the car that waits patiently for me back in Chi-Town, it's sleek, fuel efficient, I bought it all by myself, and heck I even knocked a brick wall down with it just to see what would happen.  It's a good car, but I am happy to be apart from it, for now anyway.

Most often as I walk through the city I am usually pretty destination focused. Which subway stop will bring me closest to my desired end point? How many avenue blocks must I walk? That kind of thing.  It's a fairly common affliction here in NYC, we are busy people with places to go and people to see.  However, last week when the gods above decided to give us a sampling of spring weather, Jürgen and I accidentally indulged ourselves in a walk with no real destination.  I say "accidentally" because our afternoon didn't start out with "wandering" on the agenda.  We happened to be in the city at Macy's so I could return something, and we suddenly found ourselves with two hours of free time before either of us needed to be at work.   So we started to wander, which I wil admit didn't come naturally to me from the onset.  "What are we doooing? Where are we goooing?" were typical statements from me as we started, but thankfully I took a self prescribed chill pill and began to enjoy the crisp fake-spring air, and vitamin-D enriched sunshine.

We walked past the empire state building, stared up at it and made ourselves dizzy. We gazed into store windows, we even stopped into the NY Public Library and took in a free exhibit on maps. Yes maps. Not thrilling, but informative, and free, can't argue with that. Plus I had not seen the inside of the library before and it really is quite beautiful.  After the library we found our way to Bryant Park, which I of course knew all about (ooohh fashion week...fancy!) but never knew quite where it was.

The trees clearly aren't ready to donn their spring green just yet, but they sure looked stunning with their branches intermingling to form a canopy above the park. We sat at a table below the trees and took in the  scene, and I realized: had we not allowed ourselves to simply walk, with no real agenda, we may not have thought to stop here.

A similar thought crossed my mind a few weeks ago when Jürgen's parents were in town, when we took the subway down to battery park and spent a few hours walking. We saw:

The Statue of Liberty in all her Glory.

We walked into St. Pauls Chapel, an Episcopal (represent!) Church which was crucial to the volunteer effort at Ground Zero.  Inside the church is decorated with all kinds of memorabilia from that time:

Letters from Children offering words of hope.

Healing paper cranes from Japan

A chausble pinned with hundres of badges in honor of those who were lost.

It was incredibly moving, and I had no idea it even existed.

We also walked to water street where we saw some majestic boats,

And finally we weaved our way through the financial district and happened upon a historic federal building which housed all kinds of information about Alexander Hamilton, and this stone:

I am not sure if you can read the inscription, but this is the very piece of stone upon which President George Washington took the oath of office.  

All of this was discovered because we simply put one foot in front of the other.  I know it seems obvious, but if you are looking for free entertainment, try taking yourself on a walk! Even if you don't live in a big city, you can always find unique neighboorhoods, or some pretty trails where you can literally stop and smell the roses. It's an activity you can do solo, if you want some personal time, or you can always find yourself some walking buddies. The possibilities are endless, and so many new expierences await you!

Any other ideas for great (and cheap!) Spring entertainment? I am all ears.


  1. Love it! Lets hope there is more beautiful weather to come. By the way... why did you shop in macy's in the first place?!?

  2. Take a stroll through Central Park and then park yourself on a bench- possibly grab yourself a bite to eat from a vendor cart, and then people watch! So entertaining! Your dad and I spent a good afternoon doing just that, on a warm summer afternoon a few years ago. Amazing the different forms that humanity takes!! Also check out some of the museums on their free days, or go to Governor's Island when it opens up- maybe they will have free bike Fridays like last year- we had a great time biking the island with Neill last fall!! Love you! Momma

  3. It's fun to be a tourist in your own city sometimes, right?

  4. I love walking and wandering through cities. That's why I love NYC - one of the most walkable cities in America!

  5. Have you been to that new hi-rise park in the meatpacking district? Amazing!

  6. @Anne: Yes I have several times....actually the picture of my husband and I on my blog was taken there!

  7. Walking through NYC, with or without a destination, is one of my absolute favorite activities. I'm glad you've discovered it. :-) And yes, hooray for the Highline, and yes, hooray for Central Park, and yes I will even offer a hooray for my old 'hood, the Financial District and Battery Park. Anywhere along the Hudson River is stunning.

    And yes, I agree with Neill: WHY were you in Macy's in the first place? That nutty flagship store turns me into a mute, rocking slump within 15 minutes. It never fails.