There is nothing like summer in the city and you can take this one of two ways. The first is much more enjoyable – the feeling of waking up to full daylight and walking outside until the sunsets after 8. The other is that when the humidity hits, man it hits hard. You are walking around hoping you don’t sweat through every single item and praying that the smell of the trash doesn’t seep through your clothes. I know I just painted a lovely picture and if you’ve experienced NYC during this season, you’ll know exactly what I’m writing about.
My name is Kaitlin and I’m a history geek. I grew up with a family that would make a detour in order to tack on an extra Civil War Battlefield or museum so I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Right now I’m working my way through New York City via a walking tours book and some spontaneous running adventures. November Project has been a huge help since the workouts range from Battery Park to deep into Harlem. But the most wonderful place (biased) is that of Central Park and it turns out that there’s a lot more to this grand oasis than I ever realized!
This amazing plot of land is smack dab in the middle of the concrete jungle, it happens to be the most visited park in the U.S., and it tops out as one of the most filmed locations in the world. I can easily say it’s one of my favorite places in the city and I make sure to run some form of the loop at least 1-2x per week. I also happen to work near the park but the reality of me leaving the office during the day is bleak…so I rely on the epic views we have from the kitchen and cafeteria. Anyways, enough about me. The important part is that this park should always be on your NYC bucket list whether you are here for the 1st or 100th time.
Last Sunday my friend Maura and I went on a jogging tour of the park with a group called Jane’s Walks. Maura tends to stick to the West Side Highway during her runs and as her time in New York is actually coming to a close (off to grand adventures in D.C.!!!!) so we thought it would be good to accomplish some bucket list items.
Now I have taken many many pictures of the park and posted them here. From the Great Lawn to the reservoir, they are all pretty note-worthy places. Today’s post will be more about the more secretive spots that blew me away. Who knew these lush gardens could be found by simply walking an extra 10-40 yards off the main path?
It was established back in 1857 on a portion of city-owned land and the design was picked out of a design competition. With the expertise of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, a design was picked, construction began, and the first public area was introduced to the public in 1858. The construction continued through the American Civil War and in 1873 was expanded to the 843-acres that it is today.
The park had been home to a number of shanty towns – Harsenville, the Piggery Disctrict or Seneca Village that needed to be rid of in order to continue construction and there was even a convent on the upper right side of the park called Mount St. Vincent’s Academy.
We started around 72nd near the Daniel Webster statue and ended up around 102nd. We passed through the west side of the park, through the gardens along 5th avenue and up on the hills of Harlem. We didn’t run through the Zoo but did pass the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (<< one of the most difficult words for me to spell).
We crossed over and under countless from back in the 19th century and are still standing. Along with those bridges are waterfalls, which are flowing a plenty now that it’s spring and we’ve had our fair share of rain. Then you have the above picture (right), which is a blockhouse, the second oldest item in Central Park next to Cleopatra’s Needle, and was created back in 1814 for defending the park.
Now when writing this post, I spent some time bopping around Wikipedia. Yes, I was using Wikipedia because all the information is there and I don’t have access to encyclopedias. Anyways, since I can’t copy and paste and am not going to link back to every single thing, I highly recommend spending some time reading up on Central Park. It’s fascinating what you can find and if you would rather take a walk in the park, then be my guest and come explore the wonder of New York City!
Have you been to Central Park? Do you have a favorite place in the park?
To be honest, all of last week felt like a blur and a bust. I’m not sure if I gave my legs the rest they needed following an 18-miler but every time that I ran, it felt like I was dragging through cement. Every workout was a struggle and even my swim on Friday was lackluster. Then I went home with either a 12-hour stomach bug or food poisoning. Either way, it wasn’t how I had planned to spend the week/weekend. But, we can’t always control what happens and this was an excellent example of going with the flow.
After 9+ hours of sleep on Friday, I woke up with the hopes of running 12-14 miles. Just a mile in I realized this was not going to happen. I dragged myself to mile 4 and met up with some girlfriends who quickly told me I shouldn’t be running. But I was so determined to finish a run, scared that if I didn’t run I would be a failure, and grasping to hold onto any potential social time. Well, after total of 7.5 miles, I decided to call it quits and walked myself to breakfast. Don’t be fooled by my smile below – I loved running with these gals but felt awful.
Accepting defeat of a run is tough and so is taking a rest day. But I know that having these days will only help me down the road. Not to mention it was SO DARN COLD (maybe exacerbated by my body chills or potential fever…I don’t know since I kept forgetting to take my temperature…#adulting) and running with any type of flue is just stupid. Lesson learned.
Obviously when running doesn’t work out, washing away your feelings in brunch is the next logical step. I had been craving avocado toast and Bluestone Lane just happened to be where I stopped by run. In retrospect I certainly could have found a cheaper place to dine but was in such a foul mood, I let the $25 bill (+ tip) slide. I mean I never truly know what to do about tip – how much does one tip? If you don’t tip the 20% are you rude? What if they are practically watching as you select the buttons on the touchscreen iPad right in front of you? Oh the moral questions, right?
Once brunch was finished and my expensive solo-bill was paid, I made my way downtown and made myself stop in Trader Joe’s to pick up this week’s groceries. One of my goals is to be better about meal prep and that includes making recipes other than grilled vegetables and fried eggs. I’ve been feeling a little “blah” about life and can’t quite put my finger on it. I know that winter is one element but maybe a change in routine – including eating routing – can help. Plus one of my roommates is gone for the next week, so we have a 1/3 of the fridge to takeover. (<< shelf and fridge space are also the things you think about when living in a tiny apartment in Manhattan)
These enchiladas (slightly modified recipe by Ambitious Kitchen) were delicious and almost better after being in the fridge overnight. It must be the way that the ingredients settle that makes it so delectable. Anyways, add a little avocado and Greek yogurt and viola!
While Sunday was the day where we turned our clocks forward, I decided to let myself sleep in. That usually means 6:30 or 7 since my body naturally likes to wake up early. Nope. Yesterday I slept until 9am, which with the time change meant I had slept for a full 10 hours!!! Obviously my body was trying to tell me to slow down between the terrible workouts, body aches and two nights of epic sleep.
After lounging in bed watching the Today Show, I cleaned up the apartment and walked out into the bitter cold (real feel of 11 thank you very much) to meet a couple of friends for brunch. My goal is to be better about making meals during the week and then keep exploring food spots on the weekend. This way I don’t feel nearly as bad when we go ham ordering a few extra items.
^^ Ruby’s Cafe is 1) a place where of course it’s mega-popular 2) is run by a crew of Aussies (they seriously know what’s up for brunch) and 3) can be excellent for brunch OR lunch/dinner. The Murray Hill location had actually been recommended to me by a few of my friends but when their Instagram “liked” my Saturday brunch photo, it was almost serendipitous – we had to go there.
After hemming and hawing over the menu (like I said, they have it all) we agreed to order brunch items and promise to come back for the classic burger and sandwich options. It was only right and after polishing off our orders of BLTA+egg, Breakfast Bowl, and Green Breakfast Bowl (+ a treat of coffee granola w/ poached pears and greek yogurt), we knew that we had ordered right.
After brunch I decided to check another item off of my bucket list, which was the New York Transit Museum. I don’t entirely know why I was so driven to see it over the last couple of years but the MTA does an excellent job of advertising for it within the current subways and so, over the Brooklyn Bridge I went to check it out. The museum itself is housed in an old subway station so for starters, that’s pretty awesome. Then, for general admission of $10, you get access to the story boards and gidgets and gadgets that helped our public transportation evolve over the last 100+ years. They even housed every version of subway car on the old tracks so that you could actually see and touch the trains of the past. I only spent about 45 minutes in there but it was like taking a step back in time.
Then it was back into the cold to walk/ride into Manhattan, where I got distracted by a craft store going out of business, and then took a vinyasa flow class (aka glorified stretching by I love it). It may not have been the weekend I imagined but I have to constantly remind myself that I’m on my own journey – whether it’s for running or work or just life itself and that’s okay.
Now it’s time to conquer the work week, continue to make plans for the rest of the year including a few trips around the country and of course my Paris trip, which is right around the corner. Until then, enjoy this extra sunlight in the evening and if you are in these neck of the woods, good lucky and stay safe with this crazy nor’easter!
“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Looks like I’ve been doing an excellent job at keeping my blog updated. Not. Maybe it’s a blogger burnout or a sugar crash that I’m experiencing right now maybe it’s too much screen time. Really though, who wants to go home after sitting in front of a computer and under florescent lights for 8+ hours, and then stare at another screen? Ok, to be honest, I actually go home and immediately have my nose in my phone while watching TV. (This generation is certainly going to have eye/back/neck problems and carpal tunnel. )
Preface: The past two weeks have certainly shook our nation and world to the core. I am still working to educate myself on the issues and how to get more involved. Because I am not the most knowledgeable on all subjects, I plan to keep politics out of this blog. I will continue to post updates on my life in the city and yes, I may include some pictures of protests that I have attended, but these more light hearted posts do not mean that I am oblivious to what is going on.
This is it. The last round of training posts for the New York City Marathon. I plan to do a mini post on the marathon itself, but let’s dive into 13-16.