Taking Flight in Bryant Park

Blue Ribbon by Cori B (farflungistan) on 500px.com
Blue Ribbon by Cori B

Spring actually started as early as February in this section of the world and some would believe winter was a very kind one to all of us after how much snow was dumped on us last year.  We had 70 degree days in January and we had very few that went below freezing.  The early spring is a bit confusing but not unwelcome to those of us who are more than ready to lose the winter digs.  It just makes one wonder what kind of weather is ahead of us as summer is rapidly pushing up the eastern coast line.

I’m enjoying the perfect weather here on the island.  There’s nothing better and more refreshing than spending time in NYC’s numerous parks, dining under the sky and being able to lighten the load by leaving the wool jacket, gloves and scarves behind.

My favorite spot is the little piece of green right in the middle of Midtown Manhattan and it’s Bryant Park.  This little park has something for locals, tourists, families and those looking to escape their office/cube for a few.

Lego Lion at the Schwarzman Library in Manhatton by Cori B (farflungistan) on 500px.com
Lego Lion guarding the main entrance of the Schwarzman Library in Manhattan

So many FREE things to do in this lovely little piece of green in Midtown Manhattan


There’s a number of places to enjoy a good read.  This is a place where you can grab a table and chair relax by the fountain with a book from either the Mid Manhattan Library on 5th Ave and 41st Street or the historical Stephen A Schwarzman Library on 5th and 42nd Street. Get to the park in the early afternoon, grab a pint and lounge amongst the financial big wigs inside the Patio sponsored by the Southwest Airlines or the Bryant Park Cafe on the eastern end.

The Patio and a group playing chess in the Park by Cori B (farflungistan) on 500px.com
Chess or a pint at the Southwest Airlines Patio seen here in the background?

The park also offers a number of other free activities for both adults and their little ones.  There’s someone waiting right now looking for a friendly challenge.  For little ones  and others who are not quite ready or in the mood to compete there’s a carousel humming along to classic french cafe music, an area next to it dedicated to kids books and plenty of food vendors who provide the perfect picnic lunch to enjoy in the park.

Friendly game of Pétanque in Bryant Park by Cori B (farflungistan) on 500px.com
Friendly game of Pétanque in Bryant Park

For the sporty crowd looking for some action there’s ping-pong tablesPétanque along with free lessons as well as plenty of chess and backgammon boards  set up at tables lining the park.  These activities provide a way to meet locals and see that there’s more to Times Square then bright lights, chain stores and tour bus hustlers.  One could just about manage to make a full or half day just within the confides of this wonderful little park in the center of midtown.

Late Winter Bryant Park Ground Hog Day 2012
Bryant Park Ping Pong is amongst the many outdoor sports offers in the park and it’s FREE

And did I mention how really nice the bathrooms are?

Bryant Park by Cori B (farflungistan) on 500px.com
Nicest public restrooms in all of Manhattan. Those flowers are real.


The main lobby of the Schwarzman Library in Manhattan by Cori B (farflungistan) on 500px.com
The main lobby of the Schwarzman Library in Manhattan. The rest of the building is even nicer and I highly recommend checking it out for yourself.


Mid day in Bryant Park by Cori B (farflungistan) on 500px.com
Mid day in Bryant Park and a little on the quiet side. Get there before noon to get a good seat with a view. The lawn is the former site of Fashion week tents.


Spring is coming? That’s what Chuck says

Staten island resident ground-hog, Chuck, says that spring is coming soon.  Doesn’t take a groundhog getting woken up from a winter’s nap to be able to see that coming.  Daffodils are already peeking out of the ground in Inwood Park and some  cherry trees have blossomed in Central Park.

The weather is as usual unpredictable and confusing to all.  The two famous groundhogs – Chuck of Staten Island and Punxsutawney  Phil of Gobbler’s Knob – are only right a little over 30 percent of the time and can now sleep in peace for the next couple of months.   Supposedly, Phil did see his shadow and  let the highly disputable ground-hog whisperers, known as the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club’s Inner Circle, know that we’re in for another six weeks of winter.  Our Chuck, a little more in tune with what’s been going on above the semi-permafrost or is he probably just using his common sense?

Late Winter in Central Park South
February 2011 in Central Park South – NYC

This is what Central Park looked like last year around this time and what it typically looks like here in NYC:

Bridge in Central Park February 2011
Bridge in Central Park February 2011

A winter storm isn’t out of the question in the near future and I’ll enjoy each mild day as it comes – mild or frigid.   This time last year I was packing for a long weekend in Tulum.  I think that I’ll stop looking for winter travel deals and use the money for the trip to Asia this May.

Table tennis anyone?

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Early Table tennis in Bryant Park on February 2, 2012

The Frying Pan is open @ Pier 66…well sort of

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The Frying Pan is summed up the best by this Yelper who said on April 17th this year:

“I like drinking, I like boats, and I like the great outdoors. Ergo, I like Frying Pan. On a beautiful spring day it’s absolutely magical that you can be sipping a beer and overlooking the Hudson.”

The Frying Pan has been open on and off since to some capacity since the beginning of February.  Their twitter handle @Pier66Maritime is the only place to go to find out what’s being served, when it’s being served and if they are even serving.  On February 17th this year they sent this tweet out:

“If anyone’s curious, we are planning to open the flaps Friday daytime. No food. And when it gets cold, we’re going home.”

It seemed a bit early in the season but I felt good just knowing that a little bit of sunshine was on the horizon even though there was still snow on the sidewalks.

Lately it’s been full of encouraging tweets like this one sent :

“Bar and kitchen open… Nice out.”

And this sad but encouraging one sent today at 4pm: 

“Closing down … Too cold. Open tomorrow with kitchen even if it rains open at noon”

The official website of Pier 66 Maritime says they are officially open May-October.   There’s little time left before the crowds show up and the place looks more like a night club in the Meatpacking District  with bouncers, bracelets, lines for the bathroom etc.  Now is time to go – weather permitting of course.  Let’s hope for some a warm sunny days before May Day so we can all enjoy our  brews in a bucket  and greasy burgers without unpleasant distractions and long waits at the bar.

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The piers are quiet and just coming into bloom so head out to the Piers for a nice walk, a beer and a pleasant view of the water and early spring.

Central Park, angry people and flowers in the rain

It was a more typical late March day in Central Park NYC today.  We have been spoiled with the unseasonably mild warm weather the last week or so.  I still enjoy a misty cool day in NYC since I had the park to myself.  Just me and a few horse and bike carriages.  A horseman and a MTA bus got into a little snafu next to the park so I took a pic to mix it up a bit.

Daffodils, forsythia are in full bloom and the trees are showing some buds.  This rain should make the park green by the weekend.  This means allergy sufferers like myself will be sniffling but what can you do.  It’s spring wild animals are everywhere in the park.  So as the sign says, “Leave the Wild Animals Alone”.  Try and keep away from the cute raccoons, wild ducks and panhandling squirrels, they look harmless until they mistake your finger for a nut.