On the first Wednesday in May, a rather large tent pops up behind the Vanderbilt Gate on Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets with the sole purpose of shielding the over-the-top headgear of 1,300 ladies who lunch, a handful of men and one Martha Stewart from the elements as they duke it out for millinery supremacy Read More
In each issue of NYO, The Observer’s new real estate and lifestyle supplement, we will spotlight a different neighborhood. And what better neighborhood to start with than the venerable, diverse, complicated, constantly evolving Upper East Side, where The Observer was born and first trained its sights. The Upper East Side encompasses a large swath of Manhattan—stretching Read More
Officially, spring begins tomorrow. In actuality, it will be yet another 40-degree day in what now appears to be an endless stream of borderline freezing days. The ongoing chill is enough to sap the energy and optimism from even the most cheerful of hearts. The Observer, whose own heart is not in this category, will almost certainly lose another pair of gloves before the end of the week in an act of forgetfulness/subconscious rebellion against the never-ending winter. If the gray skies and finger-numbing conditions continue, we may well start absentmindedly leaving our coats and sweaters behind on the subway as well.
But perhaps we can all learn a lesson from the Central Park Conservancy, an organization that not only believes the seasons will change someday soon, but started acting on that belief sometime ago: planting, hauling mulch, testing sprinkler heads.
On Sunday, it was fun to settle in at home with popcorn and movies. On Monday, the hurricane hit, a frightening and fraught time. On Tuesday, the city took stock of the devastation. On Wednesday, well, Wednesday was the beginning of many frustrations: frustrations with ongoing power outages, frustrations with being cooped up for yet another day, frustrations with working from home, school cancellations extending through the end of the week, and the difficulty of borough-to-borough travel.
In the midst of these frustrations, the many islands of green scattered across the five boroughs started to seem very, very tempting. A tantalizing emerald escape from stuffy apartments, boredom and the tedium of days stretching ahead. The only problem is that New York City parks are closed, for fear of falling branches and dangerous debris, until at least Saturday morning.
Cycling in Central Park has gotten a lot of attention of late following a few nasty accidents and a campaign by the Daily News—repeated every few years—where intrepid reporters venture into the park, speed guns in hand, to make a stink about scofflaw bikers breaking the 25 mile per hour speed limit. (Hell, if you can get going that fast, that is pretty impressive.)
This is not to suggest that unsafe cycling is ever acceptable, but as more people take to bikes, and the city’s population continues to grow, park pathways are bound to get busier. Action by users is important, but also be operators.
As it has done with Prospect Park, following another spate of high-profile injuries, the city’s Department of Transporation and Parks Department have reached an agreement to change the arrangement of traffic lanes to make more room for bikes and runners and less for vehicles. The measure is meant to make everyone safer.
How important is a bathroom to you? Really, really important? How about $44 million important? This was the question we kept on asking ourselves as we flicked through the photos of 24A/24B at 15 Central Park West. Bathrooms figured heavily into this photo gallery and the 5.5 bathrooms were truly the most stunning thing about the pricey pad.
Besides marble in such abundance that our head was soon swimming, there is a Jacuzzi, media systems and an aroma/chroma-therapy steam shower—a set-up where you can add essential oils to the showerhead, then watch a kind of light show as you shower to regulate your moods.
Parks and Rec
A dilapidated farmhouse bedecked with exterior virtues from the same hands that influenced many of the city’s greatest parks might soon become available to the public.
Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for Central and Prospect parks, among so many others, once remade a Staten Island farm to fit his vision of urban pastoral, according to The Times. Perhaps that claim to fame alone is enough to yield renovations from the city. But then again, probably not.
These days, Prospect Park’s shadowy groves are as likely to be littered with discarded toys as hypodermic needles. The Park has, much like Central Park, undergone a revitalization in the last few decades, bringing it closer to Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux’s vision of artificial nature.
But even the most diligent efforts cannot rid the park of one its most fearsome (albeit natural) adversaries: pond scum. The Wall Street Journal reports that fighting the scum is an ongoing battle. Certainly, one can skim the scum off, but like a many-headed hydra, the efforts of even the most diligent Parks Department employees cannot get beneath the surface of the problem. The Harlem Meer in Central Park is similarly plagued.
Looks like the leafy canopy in Central Park will finally receive a much-needed trim, thanks to the City Council’s decision to more than double the budget for tree pruning.
The council added $2 million to the existing $1.45 million budget to be used for snipping the park’s overgrown limbs, The New York Times reports. The additional money was part of $30 million in last-minute funding restored to the Parks Department’s budget after citizens and council members cried out against the proposed cuts.
The buzzing food vendors that pepper Central Park aren’t the only ones battling to shill their overpriced wares to tourists. Bicycle rental companies are warring over the right to wheel and deal by one of the Park entrances, The Wall Street Journal reports.