March begins, Spring is in the promise. The sunshine though seldom always soothes my heart and soul. ~ Hints Of Life
The Central Park Reservoir
The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (sometimes abbreviated by locals as the JKO Reservoir) – originally called, and is known by locals as, the Central Park Reservoir – is a decommissioned reservoir in Central Park in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, stretching from 86th to 96th street. (Source: Wikipedia)
Nature’s most exotic sight is not the soft falling snow but the vast frozen river. Though static on the surface it is constantly moving underneath. ~ Hints Of Life
Growing up in India, I never experienced snow. The maximum low temperatures in my city never dropped below 40 degree Fahrenheit. Fascinating as it may sound, I grew up in a city situated at the foothills of the Shivalik (a mountain range of the outer Himalayas). So, to experience snowfall one had to make a trip to the mountains. That trip is still on the top of my bucket list.
But life moves on, and fate takes you places. Yes, it happened to me. 29 months ago I moved to New York City. Gosh, I was thrilled to live in world’s most exciting city – Big Apple or famously known as The City That Never Sleeps. Home to a huge majority of international expats I looked forward to meeting people from across the globe. My initial few months in the city were overwhelming. I dreaded the long, harsh North Eastern winter. First winter was tough. The daylight saving time was much harder than I expected. I spent most time indoors as it was too chilly for me to be outdoors. I was bored to death and missed home terribly.
But I’m a fighter. As the second winter arrived, I learnt the process of surviving the cold days. Blogging became my biggest passion and a way to share my thoughts and feeling with like-minded people. I took to running outdoors on sunny cold days and sometimes on usual gray days as well. Living close to Central Park and Riverside Park, I found myself almost everyday at the parks enjoying the beautiful, serene views. I discovered bird watching as my new hobby. Curious, I carried my camera where ever I went, capturing moments – sunset, sunrise, different New York seasons , colorful trees, migratory birds, through the lens. Photography gave me perspective. I started seeing space in new dimensions.
Adaptive and resilient, I fell in love with New York winter in the third year. It is simply beautiful. The gray days seem charming now. Gray is the real winter color even on the subway. I wait for snow like a child and there has been plenty this year. I have braved a couple of heavy snowfalls to work and it truly was fun. My wardrobe is decorated with colorful cashmere sweaters, and I own a beautiful J.Crew winter coat. At last, I have learnt to dress according to the weather outside that varies a lot.
The new year began with a record-breaking low of – 40 degree Fahrenheit (- 40 Celsius) freezing the Hudson River. After seeing the breathtaking pictures and videos on social media, I couldn’t resist myself from venturing out in the frigid conditions to see the frozen Hudson River for real, in person. As I stepped outside, my breathing became heavy, and feet started moving slowly into a jogging stride. It was cold beyond belief. Careful (a snow fall bump was certainly not my idea) I made my way to the snow-covered Riverside Park from West 71st street on the Upper West Side.
The view of the Riverside Park was divine. It looked white like an angel and felt peaceful like heaven (as you see in the picture above). As I got to the Hudson River bicycling track the river was covered in large chunks of ice floes.At the boat basin marina, mallard ducks and ring billed gulls sat close to each other on the frozen river, surviving the arctic chill. That scene was my defining moment. The 45 minutes spent in the unbearable cold were worth every breath. My New Year started with a splendid naturalist experience. I learnt life’s most important lesson yet again – we must stick together through harsh and tough times and we will emerge as champions.
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It’s snowing December in Central Park ~ Hints Of Life
On this exciting Friday, I wish to relive the few snowfalls we already have had in December, especially the first snowfall of the season!
Yes, it is snowing December in New York City. And as we are only two days away from Christmas, if the heavens permit I am earnestly hoping for a white Christmas. Oh, that will be a dream come true, indeed!
Though the first dusting of snow has melted (and two or three snow showers have passed), its essence is still alive in my senses. The first fall of snow is not just an event but a magical event. You go to bed in one world and wake up in another and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? says J. B. Priestley, the British writer.
As the first snowfall blanketed the city, the streets, from Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue, to Madison Avenue and the parks – especially Central Park – were an enchanting sight. Children, couples, and, of course, pets took to Central Park to enjoy the snowfall. The sight of the horse carriages adorned with couples and families (cozily sitting together) enjoying the ride in the snow was my favorite of all.
New Yorkers took to social media, sharing stunning snow pictures and videos. But I consciously chose to live in the moment, enjoying the snow day in the company of family and friends. It’s my third winter in New York, and I still get the same thrill glimpsing the whirling snowflakes, kissing the earth gently. The feeling so magical as if a fairy angel is sprinkling love on earth.
The Great Lawn
The lush oval lawn (Great Lawn) that opened in 1937, was Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s vision of a rural retreat in Central Park. This green 55-acre area is the geographical center of the Park, and one of the most famous lawns in the world. Located Mid-Park from 79th to 85th Street, the Great Lawn is popular among New Yorkers for a mid-afternoon picnic in Spring or for relaxing in the summer sun. It is open from mid-April until mid-November. When covered in snow the lawn looks like a winter wonderland, as you see in the picture above.
It is interesting to know, that the site of the present-day Great Lawn was not always the pastoral meadow we see today. The space was instead occupied by the rectangular Croton Reservoir, constructed in 1842. However, in 1917, the reservoir was made obsolete when a new water tunnel was built and all of its water was drained in 1931. During the Great Depression the area served as the home of displaced residents and surplus supplies and materials leftover from the construction of a subway line and Rockefeller Center.
Over the next few years there was much debate about what would be done with the space. Options on the table included everything from a WWI Memorial to an opera house to underground parking garages. Eventually the debate concluded in 1937 and grass was planted, creating the oval styled-field now known as the Great Lawn. During the 1950s, eight baseball diamonds were installed along the outer rim of the lawn. (Centralpark.com)
As I walked in Central Park after a 30 minute run in the winter wonderland, watching the kids play in snow got me thinking of the many wonderful moments we create in our life on a snow day. For instance, a snowball in the face is a perfect beginning to a lasting friendship. I am sure many of you cherish these incredible childhood friendships even today. As I passed Cherry hill, I saw a little boy making a snowman with his mother in the middle of the hill. Seeing the beautiful mother-son bond, I couldn’t resist playing with them for sometime.
As I said goodbye to them, I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? Covers them in a warm white blanket until summer comes. With this wonderful feeling and priceless experience I made my way out of the park. It was time for a delicious hot chocolate in the cozy corner of my house.
The serene fall colors glistening on the last day of November. ~ Hints Of Life
I envisage the bleak cold days ahead,
but for now; Ionlywish,
to enjoy the serene fall colors,
glistening under the bright blue sky,
the sun’s rays kissing them softly,
red; yellow; orange shades,
an epitome of life’s celebration,
the last day of November,
as nature prepares to embrace the change.
November, your last chance for fall walks in the park. ~ Hints Of Life
November comes with a ‘crush’, a heart crush for Central Park as it enthralls you in its fall spirit, and a dramatic weather crush as temperatures in New York City dipped below 20 degrees Fahrenheit on November 10, calling for a freeze weather alert. These conditions killed all the crops and other sensitive vegetation, ending the growing season for 2017. Catastrophic!
As I welcome the change, I wish to let the days flow with grace. I want to surrender myself to the small cozy corner in my house more often. Where I wish to write loving and positive thoughts and think of ways to spread joy and goodness this holiday season. As these thoughts escape my conscious, I remember spending a perfect November afternoon in Central Park a week ago. Colored in the spirit of fall the Park dazzled in shades of purple, reds, orange and yellow hues.
American Elm American elm a predominant specie in Central Park is found in the North woods; West Side to Mid-Park from 101st to 110th street and The mall; Mid-Park 66th to 72nd street. A high canopied, in shape either fountain or vase, the elm is by habit and nature conducive to a grandeur and elegance not lost on Frederick Law Olmsted, Central Park’s designer. Olmsted saw in the American elm, a favorite of his, a tree conducive to creating canopied spaces intended to evoke the tranquil intimacy of ecclesiastical chambers, writes; Guy Trebay in the New York Times article- In the Treetops, a Winter Gift.
By 1860 the first two elm saplings were already growing in Central Park’s turf. Ever since efforts have been made to isolate the elms from contamination by the neighboring elms or becoming victims of the Dutch Elm disease. The difficult task is a result of the close watch by the gardeners of the Central Park Conservancy, now forming one of the largest remaining plantations of the trees. (Source: Em.wikipedia.org)
To me, Central Park in November is about taking the last fall walks. To be mesmerized by the beautiful landscapes (all around) before it vanishes away. I visited the park on a mid-week afternoon for two simple reasons, it is less crowded around the time and it gives me a chance to enjoy my own company. Other than me, it were the three dogs (in the picture above) running the length and breath of the North Woods and having a time of their life. I soon befriended them and even chased them with all my strength as they sprinted on the beautiful fall foliage. Stopping sometimes only to rub their face against the soft leaves and other times to stretch their limbs for a little while.
I entered the park from West 79th street, and walked towards the North Woods this time. The sight of the mighty American elm, pulled me to that part of the park. I must tell you, elms are loved for their graceful, stately shape, with branches like spreading fountains, and their green leaves turning gold in fall. As you see in the pictures above it were these beautiful landscapes that captured my senses. Other than the elms, the North Woods is home to Black cheery trees that change their color to yellow, & red; Pin oak trees that turn russet, bronze, & red; Red oak tress that turn to yellow, brown, & red; Scarlet oaks turning scarlet and Red maple turning red.
So if you are planning to visit the New York City Parks anytime soon. I suggest, November (precisely now) as an excellent time to visit, as some of the most popular parks in New York afford glimpses of spectacular fall colors. And Central Park, home to about 20,000 species of trees with the changing colors is a breathtaking sight. So why wait friends! Don’t think, just make your way to Central Park soon.