The last couple of days in New York were busy. We began Sunday morning with a walk through Central Park. Over 800 acres in size, this is Manhattan dwellers backyard, their playground. With walking and biking paths, bridges and ponds, a zoo, places to eat, and benches conveniently located everywhere, it offers something for everyone. The only downside (for me) is that it’s easy to get turned around and LOST.
Although it still felt like summer, the leaves were starting to turn gold, and many have fallen. I especially loved the walkthrough “The Mall” with the canopy of American Elm trees, believed to be the last remaining in North America. This quarter mile walk is the only straight line in the park.
Throughout Central Park, there are thousands of trees all of which are closely monitored. The trees, called the “lungs” of NYC, not only add to the beauty of the park, they are vital to the air and water quality of the city as well as helping to lower the air temperature in the summer heat.
“Strawberry Fields”, a tribute to John Lennon, is located almost directly across the street the Dakota apartment building where Lennon was shot. A once favourite spot for both John and Yoko, (now designated as a “quiet zone”), this area is dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, named after the popular Beatle song, “Strawberry Fields Forever”.
“The Bethesda Fountain”, also known as Angel of the Waters, was the only statue commissioned in the original design of Central Park. A popular meeting place for locals, a notable location for movies and TV shows, it’s also a romantic spot for engagements and wedding photos.
Not far from Central Park, I spotted the Paris Movie Theatre and was delighted to see that “Colette” was playing. I had read about the movie and was anxiously awaiting its release in 2019. I couldn’t resist the opportunity for an early screening.
Sitting in the theatre was like being wrapped in elegance. The interior was reminiscent of what movie theatres used to look like. Soft grey velvet curtains were drawn across the screen, and the surrounding walls were padded in dove grey. The seats and armrests were also the same colour. Jazz music quietly filled the theatre before showtime. There was none of that loud, jarring sound that usually accompanies the previews and/or annoying advertisements.
The movie is delightful. It tells the story of Colette’s marriage to, writer, Dominic West (Willy). When Willy suffers from writer’s block, and his usual ghostwriters are unsuccessful in providing compelling material he convinces (ultimately forcing) Colette to write under his name. Her “Claudine” series (which Willy took credit for) become an instant success in Paris. The story continues on throughout her life. Colette led a scandalous lifestyle for that time period (the early 1900’s) and eventually became a successful writer under her own name. The movie is beautifully filmed, the acting is superb, and the costumes are exquisite. I loved it, and I’m sure you would too!
Although I hesitated to visit the 9/11 Memorial thinking the history of those graphic images seen on TV that memorable day of September 11, 2001, were too recent, I am happy we did. Michael Arad, architect, and Peter Walker, landscape architect, are the brilliant duo behind the winning design, titled, “Reflecting Absence“. The name and simplicity of the design could not be more appropriate. The sound of the waterfalls is intended to block out the noise of the city contributing to the serene atmosphere all about. Names of all of those who lost their lives that fateful day is engraved along a low wall around the perimeter of both of the reflecting pools which are within the original footprint of the twin Trade Towers that collapsed after the attacks. Over 400 Swamp White Oak trees line walkways in the gardens on the site. The lineups for the museum were long, so we decided to leave that for another time. A banner on a temporary passageway says, “The more we are different, the more we are alike.” These words are certainly worth contemplating in this sombre place… It’s amazing to see such beauty on the spot that not so long ago suffered unbearable devastation.
After visiting the 9/11 Memorial we walked several blocks to the Greenwich Hotel, 377 Greenwich Street, owned by Robert DeNiro. We had lunch at the Tribeca Grill, next door to the hotel, which is also owned by Robert DeNiro. The interior has a European feel with the mosaic tiled floors, impressionist style art, and formally dressed tables. We had a delicious lunch and a smooth bottle of Italian wine.
*This photo shows the Autumn display outside the entrance of the hotel lounge.
Tribeca has a slower pace than Midtown and is an area that I would like to get to know…next time.
Travelling has always been one of my favourite past times, and I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to many places and often. Although the ‘getting there‘ part of travelling isn’t glamorous anymore, it’s still the best way to learn about the culture, art, food, and history of others. The momentoes we collect from afar can be tucked into our interiors adding to the layers of our homes that reflect who we are. We can’t possibly bring home everything we love, but we can retrieve all the wonderful memories at will.