Autumn in New York

 Autumn in New York

By Lou Pastina

Last weekend, I had one of those joyous experiences of enjoying New York for everything that is good about our city. You won’t see this on the news or read about it the papers because good news simply does not sell like bad news. But let me share a couple of things to do before it gets too cold. These are simple things, not big things like the parade on Thursday, or what used to be a fun thing, the inflating of the balloons on the west side the night before. No, these are simple things to do to enjoy NYC.

First off, it’s not too late to enjoy Central Park. The leaves are still on the trees, and they are beautiful. If you don’t have the ways or means to get upstate to catch the fall foliage, then Central Park is a great alternative. If you can come into the park on the East Side, try walking down Literary Walk by entering on 67th Street and walking to Bethesda Fountain. If it’s a sunny day, you will be surrounded by trees, water, and sunlight, all the things needed to lift a harried spirit. If you need to wet your whistle, a quick walk around to the concession will do the trick. If you would like to sit and eat healthy, head back down Literary Walk and make a right at the Sheep’s Meadow, and you will find Le Pain Quotidian where you can sit and enjoy the late day sun over the meadow eating a nice salad or soup. If you would like something a little more up tempo, continue walking west to Tavern on the Green. I know most New Yorkers think this place is a tourist trap, but why not be a tourist in your hometown occasionally? On the weekends, they have a jazz band for brunch and dinner, and it’s not really that expensive at all. It is a wonderful way to enjoy the park and city.

My second recommendation is Brooklyn, yes Brooklyn. Take the ferry to Wall Street and then take the ferry to Brooklyn Bridge right by the River Café. When you get off, head north, you will hit Dumbo, which is that area of Brooklyn between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. This area has been beautified, highlighted by the refurbishment of an old civil war factory into Time Out Magazine’s headquarters. It boasts restaurants and shops and great views of lower Manhattan. Water Street also has shops and restaurants and a bit further, there is a wonderful park with waterfront access. For the winter season, they have installed an ice-skating rink, and of course, the carousel is there housed in a huge glass case.

If you head back south past the River Café, you head into Brooklyn Bridge Park which has trails over hills and trees all the way to Atlantic Avenue, but right on the waterfront. Again, if you are blessed with a sunny day, you will be surrounded by water and blue sky, therapy for the soul.

If you are interested in nightlife, you might want to try Birdland on West 44th Street. I recently joined a group of friends to see the yearly Django Festival. What a treat that was. Gypsy jazz guitar is a very specific type of jazz, and you would know it immediately if you heard it. Pioneered by the innovative Django Reinhardt, the guitarist who used only two fingers on his fretboard hand to play these intricate patterns. Our guide for the night was blues extraordinaire, Kerry Kearney, who will be playing at the Iridium on 7th Avenue this Saturday. Tickets are still available. And that would be combining the best of Rockaway/Breezy Point and New York.  Ahh, autumn in New York; it truly is the best! Happy Thanksgiving all!!


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