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Summer in the (non-Central) Parks

Written by Shareshten Senior
Modeled by Melody Bates
Photographed by Linus Gelber
(Opposite Photo - Fort Tryon Park)

Editor's Note: This article was first published in June of 2006.

Summer has finally arrived, New York! And as a part of our mission to tell you about cool places that are slightly off the beaten path (you can find Central Park for yourself), New York Cool recruited writer Shareshten Senior, photographer Linus Gelber and the Billionaires for Bush’s ( talented and beautiful Melody Bates to bring you this ode to summer in the city. They traveled all the way to the northern tip of Manhattan to shoot at the Cloisters in Fort Tyron Park, headed down Manhattan's Upper West Side of Manhattan to Morningside Park and then downtown to Tompkin Square Park in the East Village. They finally ended up at West Village’s Washington Square Park. And everywhere they went, there was fun in the sun!

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park

Pansies in Fort Tryon Park

Fort Tryon Park: This is probably the best place to go if you want to feel
like you took a trip to the country. You will be surrounded by trees. Take a
look across the Hudson and you won't see any buildings or factories on
the Palisades; there are just miles of trees. The Park was a military fort
during the Revolutionary war and there is a lot of history including the
Metropolitan Museum medieval art exhibit at the Cloisters. There is also
a lovely maze of flowers called Heather Garden.

View of George Washington Bridge from Fort Tryon Park

The only view of civilization is the George Washington Bridge in the distance.
Stone walls surround the park and massive boulders occupy the center.
There are park benches filled with readers and writers; the lawns are
blanketed with lovers cuddling under the trees or sleeping in the sun. It
is cool here; there is a nice river breeze. Blue Jays and Cardinals flutter
from tree to tree and the soft sounds of their chirping create a soothing sonic
background. After a day of museum, sun and relaxation, you may want an
upscale meal or cocktails. You can head over to the New Leaf Cafe, which is
nicely nestled between the entrance and the Cloisters and on Thursdays and
Fridays you can enjoy some live jazz from 8-11PM. Even though it seems as
if you have left the hustling lifestyle of Manhattan, in reality you are only
a twenty minute train ride from mid-town. Fort Tryon Park can be reached
by taking the A train to 190th street.

Morningside Park

Morningside Park: This park has been cleaned up and features a waterfall,
a pond, an athletic field, a playground and large monuments. Gigantic trees
are ever-present as you bike or walk through the paths of Morningside. Sun
or shade can be your calling for the day or if you prefer, perhaps some exercise. Runners and bike riders alike circle the paths of this park. Melody sat on
a huge tree stump and soaked up some sun. Afterwards catching your share
of rays, you can walk up to the newly renovated shops and restaurants of
125th Street. Morningside Park is located in Harlem near Columbia University
in Harlem and runs from 110th street to 123rd street between Manhattan
Avenue, Morningside Avenue and Morningside Drive You can reach it via the
A, C, B, D, 1 & 9 trains.

Sleeping in Tompkins Square Park


Tompkins Square Park: Anyone want to see the oldest elm tree in the
northeast? Well, you can see it at Tompkins Square Park, an undeniable
favorite for vegetarians and dog lovers. This park offers shade for the health
conscious, a dog free sunning area and of course dog runs. The neighborhood
features flea markets, vintage shops and crazy t-shirt vendors, sandwiched
between quaint bistros where you can grab a bite and a beer. Perhaps some
Brooklyn Lager--that is, if you're done boycotting it.

Catching the Sun in Tompkins Square Park

The park has plenty of grass and shade to keep you from sweating on a hot
day. Windy paths weave around the park, which is home to basketball courts,
a handball park, two playgrounds and an open pavilion for performances.
Tompkins Square Park features 10.5 acres and is located in Alphabet city
from 7th to 10th streets between Avenue A and B. It can be reached by
taking the L Train to 1st Avenue and then walking down A.

Playing with Tigger in Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park: This park, home to the famous Washington
Square Arch, is a downtown New Yorker's favorite. Here, you can find grassy
fenced-in areas where you can sit next to someone strumming a guitar.
Perhaps you are in the mood to catch an act of who-knows-what in the
impromptu stage created in the ever-dry fountain. Once again, you will be
surrounded by eateries and shopping or you can grab a New York hot dog
or snow cone in the park. Stands are located at almost every entrance;
they sell cold drinks as well. The drawbacks of this park are overuse and
litter, inevitable at such a prime location. But when traveling up to 190th
street or Harlem is not an option, this may be your best bet for a sun-filled
day and a little night life afterwards. Washington Square Park is located at
West 4th Street and MacDougal can be reached by taking the A, C, E, B or D
to West Fourth Street and walking East.

For more information about New York City’s Parks including maps, log onto: For more information about the Billionaires For
Bush, log onto their website ( and read our
January 2006 Feature Story about the Billionaires.



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