Saturday, April 25, 2009

A post about New York City!

So some of you are probably wondering why a person who professes to be a New York City squirrel doesn't actually post anything about New York City. In fact, you're probably starting to suspect that I'm a 40-something man with high cholestrol from eating eggs all the time who lives in Arizona and collects squirrel trinkets. Not so, my friends, not so. And I shall prove it to you now.

Yesterday was a beautiful day in New York City. These don't happen often at all. In fact I would venture that there are about 8 days each year on either end of summer when it is not too warm, not too humid, and not too windy. Yesterday was one of those days. In celebration (and because we had been inside all day pretending to do homework), B and I decided to take a walk through Riverside Park.

As you can see, it is a really beautiful park, particularly on a day like that. The park is made of a few levels: an upper level which is right on Riverside Drive and faces some beautiful mansions and fancy apartment buildings, the middle level seen here, and the lower level which is right on the Hudson River. We walked southward along the middle level for about a mile and a half. There were tons of people out, and a few squirrels. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get a decent squirrel picture to save my life. I know, I'm disappointed to.

I very much enjoyed the walk, as did B. There were some fragrant flowering trees, and as always I enjoyed watching the cute dogs go on their walks and play in the dog run. Of course, we're in New York City so there are some pretty awesome monuments and mansions along the way. This is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument at about 89th Street and Riverside Avenue.

The light was fantastic, and although I used to go running by this particular monument all the time I hadn't ever actually stopped to look at it so we decided to head to the upper level and get a closer look.

The city recently renovated the plaza around the monument, and it's much nicer than when we moved here (it was filled with gravel for years). We went as close as possible to read the plaque. When we got close enough I noticed that some parts of the marble were painted. Now, I know that the Ancient Greeks and Romans liked to paint their marble sculpture, but I didn't know that it was still in vogue in the 21st century. Upon closer inspection, we realized the paint covered up large swaths of graffiti on the marble surface.

It's difficult to discern, but here you should be able to see the chunks of paint peeling away from the marble to reveal scars of graffiti underneath. Isn't it horrible? Apparently even this monument wasn't immune from the graffiti problem of the 70s and 80s in NYC. And either the properties of marble make it difficult to remove the graffiti, or it simply isn't in the budget to use expensive removal techniques.
So that was kind of disheartening. Across the street from that monument, though, was this cute little mansion.

Which is, according to the sign outside, now a yeshiva. As I mentioned before, Riverside Drive has some beautiful old mansions and apartment buildings on it, but even those fancy mansions are usually pushed right up against the mansions next door. So I found it odd that this little building had A FRONT YARD and didn't touch any of its neighbors. Oh how I would love to live here!
With the sun setting, and me getting hungrier and grumpier with every minute, we started to head home. On the way, we ran into a smiling baby and his brother BA who had both been flattened on the sidewalk. Perhaps they didn't get out of the way of the garbage truck quickly enough?

It's always very strange to me that children in New York City have to do all their sidewalk chalk art on a public sidewalk in a park. But it is always interesting to run into it. There are children on our block who sometimes do this. Just a few weeks ago I noticed that they had created an elaborate series of hopscotch squares with multiple levels and some complicated shapes. It was actually pretty cool.
So that was our little New York City afternoon. Although I do hate how the nice weather seems to bring everyone outside, it really was a beautiful day. Perhaps next time I'll write a post about Central Park. Or not. That might involve going outside and seeing people. Seems more likely that the next post will be about squirrels or food.

1 comment:

  1. You mean you didn't get shot in Morningside Park?! (actually, I would really love to see it sometime myself...maybe in July if you aren't about to throw yourself in front of a subway from the humidity).