Today I found myself with free time on a beautiful day in NYC after getting a clean bill of health from my cardiologist. First I went to Mood, a well-known fabric store near the doctor’s office, where I looked at zippers. After deciding that I was not up for spending $14 on a zipper, even a really pretty zipper, I thought for a moment about going to a museum but then, because it was a beautiful spring day and because I had enough leftover credit on a Metrocard to get me there and back on the subway, I hopped on a number 2 train and went back to my old neighborhood, the place where all of my kids came home as new babies (after being born in hospitals in Manhattan) and where I lived for 11 years as a newly married wife, a new mom, a full time banker and a runner, reader, quilter and sewer. This is the first place I really chose as a home and it was home in my heart and mind for many years after leaving to move to the suburbs. It was a beautiful unplugged day. (3rd street walking toward the park, above and below)So much of my life is planned and scheduled. I work two jobs and teach on the side so most weeks I am at work six days a week. What I have found with my unplugged Sunday project is that I don’t even realize the extent to which the spontaneous part of me has been damped down by my work until I have some free time with no obligations. I forget how much I love to walk without a destination, just taking in the beauty. I walked down streets that were so familiar to me but which I hadn’t walked down in probably ten years. I have lost track. There is a reason why I loved living here.Our last apartment-a co-op apartment that we owned-was in this building right on the park. We had a duplex that faced into the back with a little garden which we made the most of. It was amazingly quiet and peaceful for city living. My older two children played in a sandbox and baby pool for many happy hours and I grew whatever flowers thrived in shade (lots of impatiens.) Our backyard was the site for many birthday parties and cookouts. It is amazing how much use a city dweller can make of a tiny patch of green. Below, the building from across the street.Note the new bike lane! My son, who lived in this neighborhood until age 8 is a biker and would appreciate this.We spent so many hours in this park. Right across the street from our building was a playground where I pushed all three children in bucket swings and spent many happy hours watching my kids play with whomever they met that day in the sandbox. We usually brought toys and ended up sharing them widely. One day, we started to round them up and I wasn’t able to find all of the plastic dinosaurs we had brought. I asked some of the other kids to help look for them. Ten children started eagerly digging. It turned into a game. One mom asked me if we really had lost one. She thought I had made it up to keep the kids occupied. Every time we went to the park, we made friends. That was the kind of neighborhood it was. I walked on through the park.
The field in the park where I would take my very active toddler and let him run around. Most weekends, we would start in the park and walk through the park to the library and the botanic gardens stopping on the way back at Grand Army Plaza to go to the farmer’s market that would be there each Saturday. I would have a child in a snuggli or a stroller or both. It never got old.And on to Grand Army Plaza.Then to the library.Or swimming lessons which took place in a pool on one of the top floors of this building (note the big windows). Two of my children learned to swim here.Then, most weekends, we went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There was always something new in bloom and it was just the right size for small children. It was beautiful today. Everything is budding and green and on the verge of blooming.
The trees look almost human.
Rose garden sleeping. In June it will all be in bloom.Cherry Esplanade. It will be blooming in two weeks and will be crowded with people but quiet today. I remember chasing children along a field of pink petals.The pond and Japanese garden.
Turtles in the sun.
The Oaks.Rose garden waking up.I loved all the crazy new growth at the base of this tree. #metaphorAnd this one looks like a ballerina with arms raised.
So much beauty. After walking though the gardens, I went back through my old neighborhood and walked by the other buildings we lived in and visited some of our old haunts. To be continued.