If there's one thing that you need to know about me, it's that I live New York City. I'll often refer to Manhattan as the city or New York proper - not because I think the other boroughs are not "proper" or anything but simply because I can't help it. I'm on of those city girls that never wants to leave it and can't imagine why anyone else would. I was born and raised in various places in New York (although always within 15 minutes of Manhattan), yet spent a great amount of time right here in the Big Apple. Some of my favorite memories include: creme brulee at Chez Josephine's (still easily the best in town), trampsing through the levels at the gigantic Barnes & Nobles and the AMC Loews Cinema movie theater in Lincoln Square, Phantom of the Opera nearly every year (and being quite scared), jazz concerts at Birdland with my dad, Saturday dinners at amazing restaurants where my parents and I were regulars, playing in the women's section of Paul Stuart while my dad shopped upstairs in the men's department, trips to the skate park in Riverside Park, filet mignon at Ruth Christie's, weekly hair and nail appointments, roaming through the Upper West Side at 12 and feeling like a true grown-up because I got to do it alone.
Because of all the wonderful memories I have and the spectacular ones I look to create, I've developed a sort of love affair with the city. This series is inspired by Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex And The City season five opener. A single Carrie decides that she going to indulge in the pleasure of her great love - the unpredictable yet countlessly entertaining New York City. At the end of the episode Carrie's voiceover says "If Louis was right, and you only get one great love, New York may just be mine. And I can't have nobody talking s#!t about my boyfriend."
This is my way of bringing little bits of the city I love so dearly to you through my eyes. And so ensues the first "My New York City Love Affair ❤" post.
If there's one place you simply must go in Manhattan, it's Central Park. Located in the heart of Manhattan, it spans 3 avenues and 50 city blocks, which makes it frustrating to maneuver around by car (you can only drive through at designated spots) but amazing to visit. There are countless things to do and see as the Park features a zoo, a carousel, boat rides, multiple bodies of water, a skating rink, many playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts as well as baseball diamonds and other famous landmarks. I truly think the Central Park is just one of those places you must visit at least once in your lifetime.
One of the most romantic things to do is rowboat on the Central Park Lake. Not only are the views absolutely beautiful, but sitting on a little boat with the man you love, watching him row you out across the water really tugs on the heart strings. I swear I nearly cried watching C seated in front of me with his shirt sleeves rolled up determined to get us moving. As sappy as it sounds, I think I learned to love him more that day.
Bow Bridge & Beneath Bow Bridge
Taking my turn at rowing.
My man ❤
You can also ride in a Gondola, which was imported from Italy over 100 years ago.
After docking the rowboat (is docking even the right term? I'm so "boat-illiterate"), we had reservations at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. I've eaten here so many times growing up but I haven't been there for at least 5 years, so I was looking forward to it. Dinner was just as amazing as I remember, and the crab cake remains a staple and a personal favorite. Plus, who can say 'no' to dining with view of the water? Not I!
Entry to the Boathouse.
(1) Even the bread was great. And the bread tray come around every 20 minutes with a fresh batch. (2) The infamous crab cake. Boathouse employees boast that it's the best in the country. It sure is the best I've tasted. (3) The Chatham Codfish was great stacked on a bed of roasted potatoes and artichokes.
The view at dinner.
The second day of our Central Park adventure was spent walking from sight to sight between 59th and 85th street. I was excited to replace my normal gym session with this tour, but when I say I was tired by the end of it all, I mean dragging my butt to the subway exhausted. Within those twenty-five city blocks, we got lost trying to find the Carousel (which was closed by the way), but we did visit some major Central Park landmarks if you will.
Heckscher Playground, the oldest and largest playground in Central Park, features typical slides and swings as well a giant rocks to climb on, and is famous for its kickball games in the summertime. Running from 66th to 72 Street, the Mall is a tree-lined lane originally designed to be wide enough for carriages to pass through but now serves as a meeting place. The southern portion of the Mall also features statutes of literary figures along the sides, known as Literary Walk. Standing on Bethesda Terrace provided breath-taking views of Bethesda Fountain, where we took a few pictures and a quick rest. The Conservatory Waters, where visitors can experience boating, was modeled after the boat ponds in Paris, and is bordered by statues of both the whimsical Alice In Wonderland and author Hans Christian Anderson reading The Ugly Duckling. Belvedere Castle, designed in 1865 and whose name translates to "beautiful view", provides a panoramic view of the middle portion of Central Park in all its splendor, including Turtle Pond which lies beneath it. Shakespeare's Garden is (or rather was) my favorite spot in Central Park, so I really wanted to take C there. By the time we arrived, it was pitch-black and far too dark to really see anything, but if you google search the garden (click here), you'll see why I love it for it's beauty and ability to serve as inspiration.
The first column reads: Heckscher Playground. Opened 1924. Improved 1936.
The second column reads: A Gift To The Children Of New York City By August Heckscher
I really wanted to get a better/closer picture, but I thought it'd be weird if I, a childless woman, walked up and took pictures of the playground (lol).
The Mall. I took this photo right as the lights came on.
My first panorama picture and not too shabby! Bethesda Fountain from the Bethesda Terrace.
Us on Bethesda Terrace.
I'm smiling but I was getting pretty tired. We'd walked 20 blocks by this time.
C took this photo at the Conservatory Waters and I think it's pretty artistic how he got the reflection of the buildings in.
Me & Hans :) I'm still waiting to become that swan, Hans.
Alice In Wonderland statute at the Conservatory Waters.
I thought the cast of the light on the left side of Belvedere Castle was interesting, illuminating the top yet leaving the bottom right of the photo dark. It kind of looks like a still from a horror movie, right?
Looking down at Turtle Pond from the top of the Castle. You can even see quite a bit of the Great Lawn at the top left.
Horrible photo of the Castle from the other side of Turtle Pond.
The entry and exit to Shakespeare's Garden. The photos are dark, but I think you can still see how enchanting it is. I mentioned above that Shakespeare's Garden was my favorite spot because at the tail-end of our adventure C and I found our secret spot. I can't necessarily tell you where it is as that wouldn't make it much of a secret, now would it? But trust me - it's breath-taking, and when your feet are screaming after hours of non-stop walking, it's stops you in your tracks.
I really hope you enjoyed my first installment into this series. Many more posts to come (there will be a tab at the top). Do try to keep up! ;) Just kidding - I've always wanted to say that (Big-ups to Harry Potter).