The Lake

Sometimes, a walk by the Lake is therapeutic. ~ Hints Of Life

The Lake

The view of The Lake at Central Park

Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains- Diane Ackerman. Such our my feels except instead of the mountains it was a beautiful walk by the Lake at Central Park.

It was a perfect Sunday in New York city with abundant sunshine and an everlasting blue horizon. The one day in the week to laze and relax. After a late brunch with my husband at Vive La Crepe on Columbus Avenue between West 68th & 69th street, we decided to head to Central Park for a walk. Our walk started right from our brunch spot as Central Park was just a 10 minute walk from there.

Mallard Ducks

A school of Mallard Ducks attracted quite an audience

The Lake
The Lake that is spread over 20-acre is the largest of Central Park’s naturalistic water bodies. It is located Mid-Park from West 71st to West 78th Streets. Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux created the Lake from a former swamp, for boating in the summer and ice-skating in the winter.

In 2012 the Central Park Conservancy completed the comprehensive restoration of the Lake and its surrounding landscapes. With the water’s edge having slowly crumbled and eroded through the years, the Conservancy set out in 2006 to stabilize its shoreline.

What the team did..?
The team excavated and removed excess sediments, then reconstructed the shoreline with rustic boulders on a stabilized gravel base. Using coir logs, created from the binding of coconut fibers with biodegradable netting, the Conservancy reconstructed the vast shoreline staked at the base of the slope where the normal water level meets the shoreline, the logs serve to protect the Lake’s edge from erosion until plants can become established. The coir logs are a sustainable solution to the Lake’s restoration, and one that’s helping preserve the beauty of its lush landscapes and the health of its wildlife habitat.

The Lake_Flowers

Black-eyed Susan blooming at the foot of The Lake

As we entered the park from West 71 street entrance, it took us to the Lake through the Strawberry Fields. A living memorial to the world-famous singer, songwriter and peace activist, John Lennon. It was serene and tranquil as we circled  the Lake at medium pace. At the North-West side of the Lake we were greeted by a school of handsome male Mallard ducks, who attracted quite an audience for themselves.  It was a sight to watch them swim in the water and listen to their quack.

Just ahead I spotted a beautiful bed of Black-eyed Susan flowers. The flower a deep yellow with a dominant black center is native to the United States. It is a very versatile plant and can grow in damp to dry and sunny to shady conditions. The Black-eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland.

A World-Class Urban Park, Central Park is just the kind of escape one needs in the Big Apple, which records the highest population density of any major city in the United States, with over 27,000 people per square mile.

So fellas make your way to the park soon!

Source:
http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/lake.html
http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/bloom-guide/blooms/black-eyed-susan.html?season=
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/data-maps/nyc-population/population-facts.page

© All rights reserved  © hintsoflifesite.com

Shakespeare Garden

Parks are a bouquet of blossoming flowers, created by mankind, a tribute for his love for nature ~ Hints Of Life

Shakespeare Garden

The staircase leading to Shakespeare Garden at Central Park

The summer days in Central Park are marvelous and the sublime beauty of its surroundings is breathtaking. One often sees people looking for cool spots to spend time relaxing and enjoying their day in the company of nature. And I was ‘one’ among many others with the same idea – a cool, quiet spot for some ‘me’ time in the gorgeous summer afternoon.

Trying my luck and taking my chances I started walking around the park looking for that ideal spot. And who would have know, in the next 20 minutes I was standing in the Shakespeare Garden just as I passed through ‘The Swedish Cottage’. The Garden is nestled between Belvedere Castle and The Swedish Cottage. Known to be one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Central Park, this was a perfect spot for me to read my current book- Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey and savor some delicious butter croissants and lemonade. For my readers who loved the Emmy Award-winning show Downton Abbey and were teary eyed as the show ended on December 25, 2015, this book is a great read. Based on real-life inspiration and setting, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon. The book will take you into the real life of real characters.

Shakespeare Garden_3

The beautiful bench was my companion for the afternoon

Shakespeare Garden
Shakespeare gardens, created out of reverence for the bard, can be found throughout many locations in both the US and Britain. Of these gardens, one of the most famous is that found in Central Park, located on the West Side of the park and 79th street.

Formerly known as the Garden of the Heart, in 1916, the Garden was renamed the Shakespeare Garden to mark the 300th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Following in the tradition of already established Shakespeare Gardens, the Garden was filled with the beautiful plants and flowers mentioned in the works of the playwright, as well as those featured in his own private garden in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Sitting on the lovely bench in the Garden (as shown in the second picture) I relished the sweet smell of the roses around me. Quiet, peaceful and quaint the other occupants in the Garden were a few couples, and some pass byers. As I walked around the garden I identified some flowers like Catmint and Annabelle Hydrangea.

The Garden covers four acres of plants that change according to season. Included among these are plants such as rosemary and pansies, alluded to by Ophelia in Hamlet, thistle, mentioned in the play Much Ado About Nothing, and even a white mulberry tree that is said to have grown from a graft of a tree planted by Shakespeare himself in 1602. To aid you in your quest to identify the various species of plant life located within the space, bronze plaques with corresponding quotations from Shakespeare’s plays have been placed sporadically along the path. The Garden is located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer. Anyone visiting Central Park in the summer, Shakespeare in the Park is highly recommend, a must watch.

Due to its serene and romantic atmosphere, the Garden is also a popular spot for wedding ceremonies which you might witness while visiting the Garden on a Sunday afternoon.

Hey New Yorkers, so is ‘Shakespeare Garden’ the next Sunday spot for you? Do share your comments below.

Sources:
About Shakespeare Garden
http://www.centralpark.com/guide/attractions/shakespeare-garden.html

© All rights reserved  © hintsoflifesite.com

Northern Cardinal

Some days,
sing a song to your heart, to your soul
Some days,
sing a song to nature, because nature is a remarkable listener. ~ Hints Of Life

Path @ Central Park Conservancy

As I stepped inside Central Park after nearly four weeks, I saw the spell of Spring everywhere. The entire park was lush green, radiant like an ancient forest. The tall umber-green trees hovered over me all around.  In moments, I realized, how much I had missed the park, the quiet walks through the serene, abundant natural beauty. A gush of happiness, smile on my lips and the feeling of witnessing pure ‘Magic’ filled me as I stared into the greenery. Just staring into nature can be so soothing to one’s eyes. And inhaling the fresh, organic smells in the park can be a complete therapeutic experience for the senses.

Standing near the Conservatory Water  mid way in the park I could only think of one word ‘Wondrous’. It’s amazing how the same place in the park can feel so magical and different every time you visit. Like the Central Park Conservancy, my current most favorite part of the park. A friend of mine said to me once and I quote him here  ‘It’s like watching the same place, the same surroundings but with different eyes’. Two months ago I was in awe of the naked trees and open, wide landscape and today I see every corner lush green.

My adventure didn’t end here, just steps away from me I spotted a male Northern Cardinal dancing and doodling on the foliage behind some branches at the Conservancy. Probably searching for seeds and insects under the foliage. It was such a sight to watch him. Sometimes he disappeared behind the branches and other times made his presence felt completely as if playing hide and seek. He was so delightful and irresistible, I captured the detectable bird with tinge of red all over him in my camera – sealing the moment for ever.

@ Central ParkNorthern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal nests year around in Central Park. These birds are a perfect combination of familiarity, conspicuousness, and style in the park: a shade of red you can’t take your eyes off. Even the brown females sport a sharp crest and warm red accents. Cardinals don’t migrate and they don’t molt into a dull plumage, so they’re still breathtaking in winter snow. In summer, their sweet whistles are one of the first sounds of the morning.

Cardinals usually raise two broods of young in a year. Unlike most Northern songbirds the female also sings, often from the nest, what may be a call to her mate. Cardinal pairs have song phrases that they share. If you carefully listen to them on the first sunny days on late winter, you may hear sounds like ‘Cheer, cheer, cheer’ or a short ‘Chink’ sound.

@ Central Park1Central Park is home to umpteen species of birds. In my research I found that since the creation of Central Park, more than 280 bird species have been recorded, 192 are regular visitors or year-round residents and over 88 are infrequent or rare visitors. Isn’t it so fascinating? Considered as one of the best birding spots in the United States, the park attracts birders from all over the world. The park also provides guided bird watching tours in Spring and Fall.

So, do you feel pepped-up to sign-up for a bird watching tour at Central Park soon? Do share your thoughts in the comments section.

Sources: http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/cardinal.htm
http://www.nycaudubon.org/manhattan-birding/central-park

Harmony

When there is calm within oneself, even the thorns appear harmless. ~ Hints Of Life

Flower@CentralPark_copy

After a bleak rainy Saturday, the sun shone like a lady dressed in gold on Sunday morning. The Upper West Side was glowing under its golden rays depicting a beautiful Spring day.  The nature’s color added much serenity to the atmosphere. The feeling of bliss enrobed me from inside out. As much as I want to dwell on the beautiful, sunny Sunday, it would be unfair to totally forget the rain drenched Saturday.

Languorously, I starred at the rain, which was coming down in heavy sheets since early Saturday morning, and continued throughout the day. After much contemplation, I decided to stay home and enjoy the rain vicariously through the huge south-west facing  windows in my living room. It was a day to savor on a large mug of hot-chocolate and read my current favorite book, A House Somewhere: Tales of life abroad. Beautifully written the book includes original contributions by Isabel Allende, Jan Morris, and Simon Winchester (A good recommendation for readers who appreciate travel writing).

…I know well the delectable thrill of moving into a new house somewhere altogether else, in somebody else’s county, where the climate is different, where the mundane preoccupations of life at home don’t seem to apply and it is even fun to go shopping – Jan Morris.

My favorite lines from the book so far. I even went ahead and clipped it on my ‘Thoughts’ board in a colorful handwriting. I like to write down anything that inspires me or is plain beautiful. Because you never know when these words would uplift your sprits any given day, inspiring you to do something more with your life. I read and read for most of the day and the profound words transported me to many different destinations, giving my imagination wings to fly like the Blackpoll Warbler. A tiny, gorgeous bird that makes the longest overwater journey of any songbird, flying nearly 1,800 miles nonstop over the Atlantic Ocean to its wintering grounds every year. Isn’t that outstanding?

When I read such courageous stories, my belief in harmony (within oneself) and self-belief becomes stronger than ever before. As Sallust rightly said,  Harmony makes small things grow, lack of it makes great things decay.

 

 

 

Winter thoughts

The crisp winter smell, pine needles, wood smoke, snow – it’s winter in New York.

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The leafless tress so picturesque, I want to believe it’s a dream in a dream. Icy air a whistle in my ears, fingers and toes numb, a deep breath in and a slow breath out- I am humming the winter song. The air feels soo fresh and pure, I smell coffee brewing somewhere in a café on 72nd St., the roads are empty- no sign of a soul, suddenly everything seems quieter, almost muffed. I am bundled in layers of clothes but the felling is still soo good.

The simplicity of winter has deep moral. The return of nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread. – John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” Such plain beautiful words, warms one’s heart on a dead winter night. It is the poetry that makes my winter calming and special. And a good cuppa coffee is never missed.

Feel the winter folks, experience it, it’s magical! Let your thoughts wonder, let them fly high in the unknown spaces, let them discover the undiscovered. It is in winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity. – John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,”

With winter and only winter in my thoughts, I await the new adventures in store for me- the whiteness, the purity, the splendid winter snow.

 

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