Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Central Park in Spring

Today it has been rainy, then a bit sunny, then quite warm. Then back to rainy, then very very haily and back to raining once again.
So, as I can't (am too much of a fair weather gardener to) go out to take photos of my veg garden, I thought I'd reminisce about my New York trip in April and recall what beautiful sunny weather we had over Easter weekend.

Being such a gardening nerd, I eschewed long hours of shopping on 5th Avenue and dragged my mother uptown to Central Park (with promises of prosecco at the Boathouse if she was very well behaved).

I love Central Park - it's so huge you can lose yourself totally in it and the varied areas and styles of planting mean that there always something new or different to see as you progress through it. I also adore the way it is literally plonked into a grid of uber-urbanness. One minute, you're stepping out of Tiffany's (note to hubby: just browsing...) and minutes later you're tripping across Central Park South trying not to get knocked down by a horse-drawn carriage. And then immediately you're scooped up into the green lushness of the park itself.
Created in the mid 1850s in response to the green public spaces of London and Paris, the location was selected due to the natural terrain of the area (swamps and huge rocky outcrops) making urban development unfavourable. As with most large scale urban regeneration, it did involve the displacement of roughly 1600 poor residents of the area who lived in squalid shanties on the site. Some things never seem to change, do they?

If you don't know much about Central Park, this should help put it in a visual context. This photo (taken a few years ago when I took a helicopter ride over Manhattan) show the placement of the park within the city. It was in November so the trees have their autumnal colours on show.

A large rectangular shape, the park has many different areas, lots of paths and areas of water, large outcrops of stone and a variety of seats from which to take in the view.

This next one is taken from the west side of The Lake – a 20-acre man-made stretch of water – situated about a third of the way up the park. The view is looking south towards Central Park S and the towering office buildings of midtown.

This photo is taken from the same position on The Lake looking west onto Central Park West between W74th and W75th. To the left, just out of shot is the Dakota building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived.

There were some beautiful hellebores in flower, gently nodding in the breeze.

And can anyone tell me what these are? I really feel I recognise them but just can't come up with a name and there were no plants labels near this one...