Posts tagged “Central Park

NYC & NJ In Winter & Spring

Every photo in this post was taken between March and May, in NYC or the area in northern New Jersey which my mother called home for the last forty-five years. Having returned early from my work in Bangladesh in order to be with Mom, I’ve now seen this part of the US through a cold, snowy late winter and into a wet, green spring. Between trips around various parts of the city for medical appointments with Mom or meetings with friends and colleagues, I’ve been around much of Manhattan and northern NJ when the trees were bare and snow was on the ground, through the first blooming of snow-bells and forsythia, to this past week of alternating thunderstorms and clear skies with brilliantly green trees and now the irises starting to pop out. Before leaving this area for more or less the last time after clearing out Mom’s house, it seemed fitting to do a final ode to the sights and seasons of a region that I myself have also called either first or second home since Mom brought us here during the Ford administration…


Bridges, Buildings & Skylines of NYC

Central Park - Early SpringI’m back from a short assignment in Sierra Leone, furnished with a new computer and the renewed ability to get photos off both my camera and my phone and then edit them more or less as I like. So I’ll be trying to update my readers – be you known friends & family, or some of my many much-appreciated but unknown viewers from around the world – with all the various things I’ve been seeing and doing in recent months. A thing I’ve learned from my many MSF friends and colleagues is that, even for those who could afford the airplane flights to the US, the idea of visiting the US is very unappealing to many in the world. Either the active adventure travelers assume it’s a destination for one’s older age when the energy to hike and live rough is reduced…or many of my friends and colleagues are understandably concerned about the warmth and humanity of their reception in a country whose “elected” government has gone so bitter, angry, and unwelcoming. I find that a pity since there’s so much worth seeing in the US and also so many people of all backgrounds and perspectives, many or even most of them really quite lovely as individuals, even in states currently driven by the most angry and unwelcoming people. All but one of these photos were taken on the island of Manhattan, the heart of New York City, between April and June. The photo just below, in which my brother Steve & I join our old family friend Jill to celebrate my mother’s 81st birthday, was taken on the far side of the George Washington Bridge (see the slide show below), in New Jersey. Since the GWB is Mom’s favorite bridge in the world, the gallery is a small tribute to her also. Though I love my work and how it exposes me to the realities of a world beyond our shores here in North America…well, it’s always nice when I get back to my family, even if being here means living in denial about the fact that our classy, smart & cosmopolitan President Obama seems to have left the white house… As usual, captions will try to tell you what each photo is, and I’ll write nothing more but let you appreciate NYC and its architecture, skyline and hidden corners.

GWB 6

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Statu​e & Harbor from Whitn​eyYes It's Manhattan


I Love NYC In the Spring

This is it, folks…smw, slt is leaving NYC after a year on these shores. Tomorrow I’ll start moving again, exploring a few parts of the US before I leave in late July to take up my next post with MSF. There’ll be more information later about where I’m going, and probably another blog entry from my travels in the US before I leave for briefing in Amsterdam, but I want to take a moment to honor the city which I knew so well from the 70s through the 90s, but haven’t spent more than a week in since 1997. Having spent the 12 years since then largely in mediterranean climates (LA and SF) or in the tropics, I’d truly forgotten the robust bursting expressions of life and color that characterize the temperate spring. So herewith an ode to NYC in spring, now that summer has come and I’m leaving NYC. Enjoy. Stay tuned for more regular updates and photos since I’ll be traveling again.
…Yes, Brooklyn is part of New York City and dear to my heart as my home for a decade. Above and below – Brooklyn Botanic Garden during cherry blossom season, and Grand Army Plaza in the heart of Brooklyn by Prospect Park & the Brooklyn Public Library.



Some of my readers haven’t been to NYC and I’ve mostly aimed my NYC blog posts at folks outside the US who might consider visiting some time. I’ve always told European friends, in particular, that American cities are nothing special compared to European cities, and I stand by that; it’s our vast natural landscapes of endless variety and (underfunded) national parks that make the US a top-notch tourist destination, in my view. That said, the US has several cities that are chock full of great architecture, museums, parks, restaurants and people – even if none can hold a candle to ‘old-world’ cities like Athens, Istanbul, Varanasi or Beijing when it comes to history. The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens were one of my favorite weekend haunts when I lived in NYC. You see why, I’m sure.




Since April I’ve taken a weekly conversation class at the Alliance Francaise – French Institute in NYC – another of those great NYC resources that everyone should check out, with really excellent classes and good membership benefits and programs. Every Saturday morning I’ve taken the A train to Columbus Circle, beautifully renovated and now a lovely magnet for strollers and walkers at the southwestern corner of Central Park, and walked through the park to my class over on Madison Avenue, past (Manhattan’s) Grand Army plaza at the southeast corner of Central Park, home to NYC’s famous Plaza Hotel and, on the day I took the photos below, many beautiful April tulips. (American history lesson for the curious: the Grand Army was the Grand Army of the Republic, aka the Union or northern army which deafeated the Confederate Army in the American Civil War, which for those of you who don’t know was an indescribably deadly and prolonged war from which the country took many decades to recover, and in some ways still has not. NYC’s population and economic might were important assets for the Union side, the city supported the war effort, and thus NYC has two famous Grand Army Plazas in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, which until 1896 was a separate city. The history of the names is more complicated, but go to Wikipedia if you want more.)