Monday, June 3, 2013

Nature Walks in the Big City

When I was living in Portland, OR and thinking about coming back to my childhood home of New York City to go to graduate school, I thought it would kill me to be back in the city after so many years living in places where my life revolved around being in nature. Now, would you believe it that when I think of New York, one of the things that comes to mind is all the cool, relaxing natural areas there are to explore. 

Last weekend I went up there to see my parents, as my Dad has had a small stroke. He's doing really well, and has moved to rehabilitation from the hospital, but both he and my Mom could use some some love if you wouldn't mind sending some their way.

I brought Lamar with me, which ended up being a great choice since it meant that I had to go out to Morningside Park. 

This is the park I grew up walking the dog in, and I made sure to go by the pathways I used to take when I was a teen.

The stunning layout of the park is a function of its natural geography, which consists of a cliff of Manhattan Schist. 

The city put a park there instead of undertaking the impossible task of turning such steep topography into city streets. Good thinking!

One thing that was not there when I was a kid was the pond and waterfall.

How cool that I can walk right out of my parents' apartment and find scads of ducks, 
some very threatening geese,  and loads and loads of turtles. 

Not to mention doggie friends like our buddy Captain, 

whose mom Dottie we used to talk to a lot back in my grad school days. 

There is a statue that makes me very happy, of a bear and a little faun with his Pan flute.

Some Pagan made that statue, and the park put it right there down the hill from the dog run and in the shadow of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. 

I love it. 

I always have fun adventures when I walk along Morningside Park. One evening, I met a guy out for a walk with his huge white parrot Cocoa, who climbed on my arm and fluffed his feathers and screamed in delight. According to his human, he loves the ladies. 

There were more mellow pleasures, like walking along the park with my Mom and learning from her all the plants in the planters. 

And letting Lamar roll around in the grass. 

I like thinking about the nature that lies hidden beneath the city, like the natural spring that must have been there all along, but that I didn't know about until they funneled it into a waterfall. 

Or the smaller spring that Lamar loves to stop at for a bevvie and a paw cooldown. 

Then there's the wildlife viewing. I loved watching this one duckie and a turtle sharing a rock, and seeing the turtle's expression

OK, I guess you can't really say that a turtle has much of an expression. 

But doesn't he look like he's gazing at this duck with love?

All fun and games until the male duck comes back. 

And the lady duck tucks her head demurely as if to say, What turtle?

Whoa-ho, Madame Duck! You don't fool me. But your secret is safe.

The turtle didn't seem too worried. Or maybe he just wasn't about to leave because all the other rocks were taken. On this afternoon, I counted 22 turtles. Twenty-two! I kid you not. 

Back home this week, and I am in a Tellington TTouch® training, learning more about this great healing modality with both Fozzie and Lamar. So it may be a few days before I have time to post. In the meantime, we are the featured blogger on Pet Blogs United this week! Go on over and check us out there, and support this neat pet blogger network. 


  1. Sending your dad and whole family best wishes for strength and a speedy recovery. What a beautiful area. I particularly got a kick out of all the turtles!

  2. What incredible beauty. I guess you don't have to travel to the wilderness to get in touch with nature and wildlife.

    Best wishes to your dad in his recovery.

  3. That is so beautiful! I never would have guessed it's in the city. We are lucky that Chicago too has some pockets of parks that let us escape from city life for a bit. Hoping your family is doing well and a speedy recovery to your dad!

  4. We hope your dad is feeling better and getting stronger each day. A beautiful park to visit, glad it provided serenity!

  5. I would never suspect that kind of beauty in the heart of the city.

    I'm sending some positive thoughts your dad's way.

    Congrats on being the featured blogger!!

  6. how beautiful your walk and photos are! Sometimes we just have to look for beauty right in our own back yards!
    Sendng healing prayers to your Dad and love to both!

  7. Hi Kirsten, we hope that your dad is doing better and that the rehab will have him back to his usual in no time at all. My dad was in Manhattan last summer but spent much of his time at the Met. He'll look up that park the next time he's down that way. It's sunny and warm up here today. About 70 degrees.

  8. What a beautiful place, your pics are wonderful!!

  9. Absolutely beautiful. Paws crossed for your pops
    Benny & Lily

  10. I've only been to central park so I was surprised to see a park like this one in the city! I would definitely find myself there a lot if I lived in New York. When I lived in London I would go to one of the parks every day to keep my sanity. Then I had to take up dog walking to get my dog fix in too! I hope your dad has a speedy recovery:)

  11. there are some beautiful natural places in New York which most people don't realize,hope your dad gets well soon,snuggles and hugs from Speedy and Mum

  12. A hug to ur Dad. {{{hugs}}}

    My hoomin is from Queens! :)

  13. Wishing your dad a short time in rehab while he recovers.

    I love nature in the city. Not just the planned parks but the falcons who nest in buildings, ailanthus trees coming up in sidewalk cracks, and raccoons that scurry through alleys.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing Morningside Park with us.

  14. Oh my goodness... I love the photos of the duck & turtle. I cannot resist an animal odd couple, as you know. :)

    Hope that your dad is doing well.

  15. We always try to transition slowly, and things go well. This sounds like a great food....if we decide to switch again I would definitely consider this one.


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