New York State of Mind

Simple elegance

Simple elegance

We just came back from a long weekend in New York City and it was wonderful.
New York in September defies description.

The weather is perfect, not hot, not cold and you find yourself walking everywhere.
We measured our steps on our smart phones and found that we walked close to 7 miles every day. We loved it.
New York crackles with energy. The restaurants are busy all day and people walk, bike and run in Central Park from sunrise to sunset.
Two of our favorite walks were through Central Park and on NYC’s famed Highline, an abandoned elevated rail line that has been converted into an amazing public space.
In Central Park, we visited Strawberry Fields which honors the life and legacy of John Lennon.
It’s hard to imagine that in a few months, it will be 35 years since he was gunned down outside The Dakota on Central Park West.

My friends and I were 16 when John was murdered and it left a deep hole. We grew up rabid Beatles fans even though we were in first grade when the legendary band broke up in 1970.

A bunch of us travelled to Central Park for a vigil honoring Mr. Lennon a few days after he was shot. It was incredibly sad but somehow soothing to be with a community of people who were as impacted as we were.
Last year, a few of us who went to the vigil returned to the  city to mark our 50th birthdays. It all goes so fast.
Howie and Linda Cohn (yes, of ESPN fame) were there as were my friends Scott Savodnik and Ben Willemstyn.

We took photos on a Central Park bench, just like the Simon & Garfunkel song “Old Friends”. You remember the line: “Old friends, old friends sat on their park bench like bookends…Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a park bench quietly, how terribly strange to be seventy.”
We saw Simon & Garfunkel in the park when we were kids too. And joked that we would be those old men someday. And I guess we kind of are. (If not quite 70).
Memories seem to be enhanced by place.
We made some new ones walking the 1.5 mile Highline, a narrow trail that features native vegetation, public art and spectacular views. It’s a monumental achievement. Simple, but beautiful and vibrant with people of all ages enjoying what had been an abandoned rail line.
When we headed back home it was with thoughts about place making and walkability.
Are there places in Boca- Delray that can be reclaimed like the Highline? Most certainly, there are.

Cities like NY, Chicago, Charleston make you rethink the mundane and consider the possibilities.
Why don’t we walk more (in cooler weather at least) but prefer driving even when we visit downtown?
What are the next cool neighborhoods?
Great cities inspire. And nothing inspires quite like the Big Apple.