As far as snorkeling around NYC, there are many surprising areas of green besides the obvious, Central Park, with its lawns, meadows, lakes of miniature sail boats, fountains, zoo, conservatory, marionette theater, boathouse,
playgrounds, ice-skating rink, ball fields, a climbing area dubbed Rat Rock–a formidable schist boulder poking out of Central Park bedrock like a nose–not to mention the specimen trees and tall wild grasses that sound nice in the wind, and plethora of birds, including but not limited to the blue-winged warbler, brown thrasher, braless tufted titmouse, belted kingfisher, red-tailed hawk, wild turkey, and peregrine falcon, along with the 250,000 imperious Canadian geese that so glibly leave liberal piles of moist droppings everywhere that it’s a danger to walk, much less think.
But there are also tiny pocket parks all over the City, and other less likely green areas, my favorite the conveniently-located Trinity Church Graveyard, two blocks from my apartment, standing at the head of Wall Street on land formerly owned by the Duke of York, the church known for its ornate bronze doors, visited by Queen Elizabeth II when she was fifty and possibly having hot flashes already, housing among others the dead Alexander Hamilton. There are not too many headstones, perhaps sixty or so, sitting loosely along meandering tree-lined paths, benches nicely placed, grass not mowed until it’s tall enough to make it reminiscent of a lazy suburbia. The headstones are from the early 1700 and 1800’s, all weather worn, many of the names abraded, their sandstone faces easing away. There are large areas of steady pure sun (street-level sun in Manhattan is not a given) in which to dangle one’s NYC pallorized flesh. But my favorite item is the blood root, the red bronze sculpture cast from the root of the giant sycamore tree that protected St. Paul’s (a church around the corner, next to Ground Zero) until the tree was knocked down on 9/11. The 18-ft. tall bronze root appears gloriously gory and looks as if it’s been yanked with some difficulty from a troublesome mouth. It’s fitting that it sits among the dead, but more fitting that there are still living to pay tribute to it.
New York City