Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Discovering your own backyard

Living in my 24 hour city becomes a bit overwhelming at times. The quantity of entertainment options are limitless yet it’s the vastness of the offerings that can stunt my motivation to actually participate. If I miss something no big deal there will be another new show, new exhibit, new whatever in 10 minutes. This past weekend however I made an internal pact that I would take a journey of discovery and visit a new local locale.

Friday night began with a few bottles of wine atop Swason’s Astoria abode. Yes I did call Astoria my home years back however I never sat on my roof and drank wine on a cool summer’s night – I lived in a basement. This act of semi-illegal behavior, though very lovely, was not conducted in order to satisfy my stated goal of a journey of discovery it was simply a nice way to kick off my weekend – and finally prove to Swason that I could drink like the Irish stock from whence I have sprung.

Day 2 of my quest – not so much discovery but I took a journey. LIRR out to Long Beach to put some quality time into my tan – mission accomplished!

Day 3 –Sunday morning, a bright yellow sun and sparkling blue sky beckoned to me as I began to weigh my options for the day’s J of D (that’s journey of discovery). I was torn between two unknown mistresses luring me out into the wiles of the sweeping city; Gantry Park in Long Island City or the grand opening of The High Line in Manhattan. After quickly completing my cerebral list of pros and cons Gantry Park won hands down – mostly because I assumed it would be less likely overrun with hot smelly crowds and avoiding malodorous masses is my main goal for any excursion.

Hopped onto my ol’ 7 train with my wearever chair strapped to my back filled with my survival gear (water, book, grapes, etc…) and 6 minutes later I was exiting at Vernon Boulevard in the middle of nowhere. Yes there really is a reason that for 12 years I have never seen anybody enter or exit the 7 train at the Vernon Boulevard station. Once above ground, using the sun as my guide, I navigated westward past the abandoned one story cinderblock warehouses to the high-rise luxury condos perched on the edge of the East River. The river, just steps away, lapped at the organically manicured man made shoreline bursting with wild pink roses and swaying sea grasses. I had made it – it was GANTRY PARK!

The park consists of piers, winding shady pathways, a riverside board walk equipped with lounging chairs, a rolly polly green space that beckons to be enjoyed by bare feet, a round seating area that is magically misted from below by fine sprays of water and a small row of bright orange hammocks. I thankfully scored the hammock with the best unobstructed view of both the Empire State Building and the U.N. (FYI delegates – your building needs a good power wash). True the bright orange strapping of the hammocks, though comfortable, was a bit reminiscent of those cargo nets one finds on the docks in Newark so I never quite relaxed into a deep rest for I was concerned that a barge with a large crane might take advantage of the situation and use me as ballast for a training drill.

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