Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Personal "Neverland"

I was in the neighborhood today and decided to drop in.
I subsequently found my new favorite urban retreat in New York City.

Credit: www.mommypoppins.com
I'm a kid at heart. That's about all I can say.

When first I entered the Children's Center at the New York Public Library on 42nd street, my whole demeanor changed. I was in wonderland.

First of all, the room is super colorful, and you know how much I love colors. Second, it is filled, from floor to ceiling, with PICTURE BOOKS!!

Credit: www.timeoutnewyorkkids.com

The Children's Center opened in November 2008, but I never made my way down there until today. Apparently, it is home to over 50,000 children's books, hundreds of CDs and DVDs, and even has an original Winnie the Poo bear.

I absolutely love the artwork on the walls - the murals depict landmarks of New York City.

Credit: www.timeoutnewyorkkids.com

I sat in the Children's Room for an hour (I could have stayed much longer, but real life was beckoning) reading picture books. Did you know that "the picture book" is a real form of literature? Well, it is. It takes quite a talent to write an amazing picture book.

credit: www.timeoutnewyorkkids.com

I focused on the picture books by Shel Silverstein (author of The Giving Tree) and Patricia Pollaco (wrote too many books to count, each one better than the next). I could have spent hours there perusing the shelves, reading and reading.

The Children's Center is located in the same building as the Rose Reading Room which I wrote about a few months ago. But I so much rather this world of children over the stuffy, rigid world of grown-ups ;-).

Maybe I shouldn't have called it wonderland. I think the Children's Room is my personal Neverland. Peter Pan, here I come!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Slippery Skates

Finally, after months on my to-do list, I went ice skating at Bryant Park.

My friend and I attempted twice before to skate on The Pond at Bryant Park, but it didn't work out for a variety of reasons (namely, crowds). We decided to go in the middle of the day this time, so we wouldn't have to deal with any lines or crowds. It also didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

Ice skating is one of those classic winter activities. My family used to skate every winter at Wollman Rink in Central Park.

I hadn't skated for years, so my ice skating experience at Bryant Park didn't start off all that rosy. I clutched onto the wall for dear life for the first 45 minutes. After that, I trepidatiously moved about a  foot away from the wall, and slowly, slowly, with my hands swinging like a mad-man, made my way around the rink.

And then, miracle of miracles, I got used to it!!! And I became professional! (I'm not joking). I zoomed around the ice, no care in the world, zig zagging in between the other skaters, having the time of my life.
(okay, maybe this is a bit fabricated, but I still got really good. Even ask my friend).

Credit: blog.bryantpark.org
I'll be honest, I like Wollman Rink much better. But I think that Bryant Park is beautiful during the month of December, with all its twinkly lights and quaint little shops. At night, of course.

Maybe I'll still get to skate at Wollman Rink sometime this winter. And Rockefeller Center, as well. Anyone care to join?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tap City!

I went to see the Tap City Youth Ensemble with my grandmother at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House this past Sunday.

It was really amazing!!!

The dancers were unbelievably talented, and their show was not only entertaining, it was also very educational.

Check out this video to see what I mean:
Take notice of the "Gum Boot" dance scene (4:15) - this was really new to me, and I found it to be super interesting.

I absolutely LOVE tap dancing (I took tap for a few years), and I especially enjoyed seeing these young, energetic teenagers bring-down-the-house with their awesome beats and rhythms. Their style was very different than the Savion Glover show I saw back in June.

Here is one bit from the performance that I managed to get on camera:


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Creative Little Garden

There's not much to say other than this is one of my absolute favorite hidden spots in New York City.

I found The Creative Little Garden by accident while I was exploring the East Village last Spring. Nestled between two large buildings, the garden is a true oasis in the middle of noisy city streets. I instantly fell in love. The garden is beautiful and enchanting... with a book in my hands, swinging on the wooden swing, listening to the birds chirp, I discover the real meaning of the word serenity.

Allow me to take you on a tour.

Just past the gates, you see a quiet garden shaded by beautiful trees, vines crawling up the walls and gates, and quaint seating areas on benches and wooden swings:

Stone lined walkway:

A lone wooden rocking chair:

A main attraction of this garden is its collection of colorful bird-feeders.

On any given day, you will see a variety of birds feeding out of these welcoming feeders. And if you don't see them, you certainly hear them chirping from the trees above.

The view towards the street.
As you can see, this garden is a quiet reading place for many neighborhood residents.

Treehouses, a clock and other cool figurines decorate the garden:

A panoramic view of the fire escapes in the buildings around. Notice the red one!

Thank you Nechama for these images! As magnificent as they are, they do not do the garden justice... if you're ever in the East Village, check it out!

The Creative Little Garden is located at 530 East 6th Street, between Avenues A & B and is open April-October from 11am-6pm weather permitting (but I recently went in December, and it was open, so you might be lucky at this time of year if you go).

Check out www.creativelittlegarden.org for more information.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A True Melting Pot

I noticed something intriguing on my way home from school the other day:

To my right there was a guy reading a newspaper in Chinese...

And to my left, there was a guy reading a newspaper in Arabic...

Once I started to take notice, I realized that people were reading all around me in many different languages!

Each person is doing his own thing. Reading in his own language something of interest to him.

I read this article in the New York Times four years ago, and I would love to share it with you. It is one of my favorites:

New York City is truly a melting pot...