Tourist Tuesday: Central Park Part 1 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Tourist Tuesday: Central Park Part 1 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

I’m back! Honestly, the weather the last few weeks has just been gray and dull, and I had zero motivation to get out of the house, plus I’ve been super busy at work. But I couldn’t go another week without heading out for somewhere touristy.

Of course I picked the day we had a nor’easter blowing through. We were just starting to see signs of spring too!

Since we were on the Upper East Side I figured I’d start my series on Central Park. Central Park is massive! It’s 843 acres, and there is a ton to see in this park, so there’s no way to see it all in one day. So I might feature other sites in between, but expect a bunch of posts on Central Park. Starting in Midtown, the park continues to Harlem in north Manhattan. The park covers six percent of Manhattan’s land area and is 2.5 miles long and half a mile wide. There are 42 arches and bridges in the park (30 are ornamental and 13 that are unnamed that carry park traffic over transverse roads).

The first landscaped park in the United States, the New York state legislature authorized the acquisition of land in the center of Manhattan in 1853 (the debate began three years prior). The Reservoir was built in 1862, it was to supply the city with clean water. The Reservoir covers approximately 1/8th of the park, and holds over a billion gallons of water. It’s not used to supply the city with water any longer, but does distribute water to other Central Park attractions (the Pool, the Loch, and the Harlem Meer).

There is a 1.58 mile track encircling the 106-acre body of water, which offers awesome views of the city. The Reservoir was officially named after Jackie O (a frequent jogger around the track) in 1994.

So back to today… it was so windy, and so cold; we ended up only walking a small portion of the loop, enough to get some photos and enjoy the view of the city before hightailing it for the subway home. Once springtime really hits and we’re not in a Nor’easter, I definitely recommend a walk (or jog) around the reservoir. However, be prepared for hordes of people; as I’ve mentioned before, New Yorkers flock to the outdoors at even the slightest hint of nice weather. If you like the snow and wind, it’s still a pleasant walk in the wintertime.

Snow and spring

Tourist Tuesday: Brighton Beach

Tourist Tuesday: Brighton Beach

Since I’m actually headed out of town this week, I decided to stay a little closer to home for this week’s installment of Tourist Tuesday.

So, we live between the neighborhoods of Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay. I love our neighborhood. It’s relatively quiet… I mean, as quiet as a New York City neighborhood gets. Our apartment is within walking distance of two train stations, the beach, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Once characterized by the New York Times as the “grumpy neighbor” of Coney Island, Brighton Beach is a small mostly Russian neighborhood (it’s also known as “Little Odessa,”) though the demographics have shifted some in recent years, with more immigrants settling from the Middle East and Asian countries.

Until 1868 the area was mostly farmland, but William A Engeman purchasable 39 lots and converted the area into a resort. By 1919 the demographics of the area had shifted such, that most in the neighborhood were first or second-generation Jewish Americans; this number only grew from the influx of Holocaust survivors that settled in the area.

In the 1980’s a new influx of immigrants began to arrive from Russia, transforming the neighborhood from a primarily Jewish neighborhood to a Russian neighborhood.

As for my visit to Brighton Beach, the beach itself is pretty quiet in the wintertime, but the scenery is no less captivating. The beach is a great place to go to escape the overcrowded city streets.

Alaska 2022: Firs, Food, and Friendly Bears

Alaska 2022: Firs, Food, and Friendly Bears

Okay… so there weren’t any bears… there weren’t even any moose, despite a hike in the snow to see one. It was our last full day in Alaska, and it was pretty much exactly what you would hope a day in Alaska would be!

We woke up to more cold air, but a glowing fireplace took off the chill as we solved the world’s problems. We had a relatively leisurely morning before heading out for a day of activities.

While we were chatting the snow began to fall so we layered ourselves up and took a walk through Earthquake Park in search of some moose and to enjoy the peace of falling snow. There’s nothing like the hushed air of a gently falling snow surrounded by towering trees, boughs bending under the weight of the fluffy flakes. Despite the distinct lack of moose, it was a pleasant trek.

After our walk we headed to downtown Anchorage to visit some tourist trap shops for some trinkets to carry home. I was a little disappointed to find so much of the “Alaskan” trinkets were made in China. I had to hunt to find locally made items.

After our perusal of the trinket shops we headed to the Alaska Fur Exchange. What a treat! The shop is great to visit even if you don’t need to buy any fur. The shopkeepers were knowledgeable and friendly and clearly love Alaska. I bought a bone hairpin. I asked what kind of bone it was and they said it was either moose or cow… I’m going to just go with moose. It’s adorable and I love my reminder of our time in Alaska.

On our way home from our excursions we happened upon a young man with his car stuck in the snow. We hurried home to get some gravel and towels to put under his tires and drove back to help push him out. There’s something immediate and gratifying about helping someone stuck in the snow. You get nothing in return, but the knowledge that you helped someone out.

Back at home I whipped up a tiramisu for dessert while the men took a sledgehammer to a five inch shelf of ice covering half the driveway. Tiramisu is a process so, while the custard was cooling, I ran outside and helped toss chunks of ice. It was hard work, but a lot of fun, and really satisfying.

Dinner consisted of wild caught Alaskan salmon, sweet potatoes, and asparagus. And later we had the tiramisu for dessert. I like fish, but it’s not my typical “go-to” protein, but wild caught Alaskan salmon is a different thing altogether… so delicious.

The next day we left for home. It was a wonderful visit, and hard to say goodbye to our dear friends.

Oh! And we finally saw a moose… on the side of the road on our drive to the airport to head home.

Timelapse of ice flowing past