Springtime in New York City

by Ondine Cohane

It's early May in New York and it already feels like the start of summer. Actually this month is probably the city's most beautiful period before the temperature climbs too high and it gets too humid. It's also the most gorgeous time for New York's parks. When you think of the city you probably think of it as a concrete jungle but its green spaces are actually quite numerous and in the last decade even more attention has been given to their maintenance and to creating more getaways. Mayor Bloomberg, for example, put into the budget the planting of 250,000 tulips this spring and they are absolutely stunning in the flower beds along Park Avenue and dotted through the parks.

When you are in town don't miss Madison Square Park (www.madisonsquarepark.org) with its blooming cherry trees and towering leafy elms. Right now the square is also hosting a very cool installation by artist Antony Gormley (eventhorizonnewyork.org) running until August 15th - with statues standing on the rooftops of the buildings that surround the square. They look like they are standing sentry against the skyline. It's a very striking effect.

Central Park (www.centralparknyc.org) is always a must see especially in these months. They just opened the lawn of "Sheep's Meadow" for the season, on the southern end of the park. I used to spend many an afternoon there during university and its lush grass is the perfect spot for a spring picnic. The whole park is full of daffodils and tulips but one of the best places to see the most beautiful of the spring flowers is the Conservancy Garden on 105th Street and Fifth Avenue, a six acre oasis where many well heeled Manhattanites have their outdoor wedding ceremonies. I like to sit on one of the benches with a book and wile away a few hours.

And if you get a chance it's also worth making an excursion out to Brooklyn's Prospect Park (www.prospectpark.org). This city park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed Central Park and it has the same combination of wide open spaces and tucked away gardens. One of my favorite aspects of this park is how diverse the crowd is that comes to enjoy it every weekend. Caribbean families have barbecues, Park Slope mothers bring their strollers for Saturday picnics, and French, Italian and other fans of footie come to kick a ball around. It exemplifies how New Yorkers of all walks of life enjoy its parks.

See here for more expert information on New York City.