Thanks for today’s Featured Friday post and pictures from Floutsam! I stumbled on this blog about a week ago and was really impressed by Floutsam’s way of including the reader in the adventure and really painting a complete and detailed picture of some very exciting travels. This guest post is about one my personal favorite penniless sites in NYC, Bryant Park.
I love New York, and no, not in the “I ❤ NY” souvenir t-shirt kind of way, this is bona fide, 100% organic, fair trade certified, love. You might think it odd to be so attached to something so large – unnatural some may say, but I assure you that I genuinely want to settle down, buy a house and have kids with this city. It’s a special kind of loving – not the fluffy puppy dog kind you have when you are young or the kind you had with your third ex-wife; it’s the committed, devoted, monogamous relationship that you can only have for a city and its eight million odd inhabitants. So it only seems fitting that my first post about the city nearest to my heart be about my favourite part of New York.
Bryant Park on 42nd and 6th is surrounded by some big company and perhaps even bigger companies. Sandwiched by Times Square to the West and Grand Central to the East, it sits bounded, or perhaps nestled is a better word, by skyscrapers to every side. When I tell people about my feelings for this tiny slice of Manhattan, I often get confused looks, “why not Central Park?” their eyes seem to ask. For some reason people seem to dislike or are at best ambivalent towards it. Maybe I have eccentric tastes or maybe true love is blind after all. All I know is that there are three good reasons why I ❤ BP (what? does big oil own everything now?) and here they are.
Rich. New York will eat your money for breakfast and crap it out without so much as a thank you come again. In a city of twenty dollar cocktails and forty dollar elevator rides, this is a place where you or your kids can enjoy a game of table tennis or a round of bocce with some elderly gentleman free of charge. In a nation that despises social programs, including the most basic healthcare that citizens of every other major industrialized nation enjoys as a human right, here are books to read and chairs to sit on, no purchase necessary. And then there’s the fact that a mere three minutes away in Times Square, thousands of people are scurrying about basking in the neon glow of the figurative heart of American consumer culture. While here, no one will try to make you buy, or buy into, anything. BP has money so you don’t have to.
Unambitious. The city never sleeps. It’s as if New Yorkers were a particularly feisty breed of urban sharks and that some part of them, feet, hands or mouths, need to be perpetually in motion else they’d drown in a sea of tranquility. I’ve come to the conclusion that the city is divided into two types of people, people in a hurry to get somewhere and out-of-towners. BP is different. Here you have a block worth of quiet where you can see regular New Yorkers – day traders, artists, students, clerks and the like, doing the least New York of all activities, nothing.
Good looking. BP is one fine looking park, meticulously kept, with plenty of greenery, quiet nooks, ample seating and bordering one of the most lavishly beautiful libraries in the World. It is also unique in that it is devoid of some of the worst things we’ve come to associate with green areas in city centers, trash-ridden lawns, screaming children, dog-crap, used needles, drug dealers and permanent residents. It includes all the wonderful things that are so extremely rare and difficult to find in The Big Apple, without succumbing to the city’s vices. So it’s not just its dashing good looks that I adore, the fact that it is so laid back or even that it is generously endowed. BP is a bastion in the heart of Manhattan where I can retreat to, and if only for a moment, escape the insanity that is New York, New York.
- Read more by Floutsam @ http://floutsam.wordpress.com