Urban musings

This is the street level view of Broadway across the street from my apartment. The photo comes by way of http://www.biking-in-manhattan.com/. Broadway was designed by the planners of the city to be the West Side corollary of Park Avenue, a tree line avenue with a green way in the center. Clearly, things didn't work out according to plan. Broadway is the commercial spine of the West Side, but we do have a tree lined avenue with a strip of greenery in the median strip.
For those of you who live in more bucolic settings, this might seems hugely urban to you. But when my youngest and I were once walking at this very spot on his way home from day care, he commented that we lived in the jungle. At first I thought that he might be referring to the Urban jungle--but no he pointed out that there were trees, so surely we must be in the jungle.
This morning the birds were singing in full voice as I was walking to services. It was a wonderful harbinger of spring on this cold and damp day. I grew up not in New York but in a small city in a house with a yard with bushes around it that attracted lots of song birds.
My kids have grown up six floors above Broadway. The elementary school that my kids attended has two holly trees by the front door. The berries attract birds all winter long. One of the lovely things about picking my kids up at school was listening to the chorus of twittering birds. I once mentioned how lovely I thought those song filled trees were to my daughter.
Her reply to me " Damned birds! They are so loud!!". I guess I have raised city kids. But as I listened to the chorus of birds this morning I thought of my daughter's "Damned birds!". I actually really loved those damned birds.


  1. Thanks for posting that, Sarah. I had no idea that you lived anywhere near trees like this. I imagined your neighborhood as pretty much all brick, stone and sidewalk with a few planters here and there, maybe....

  2. This photo was taken in the summer with the trees in their full leafy glory. The streets around here are all planted with trees, both on the avenues and along the side streets.

    We live midway between Central Park, and the much less famous but really wonderful Riverside Park.

    Nature is not as obvious as it is in other places, but it is present if you know where to look.

    One of my favorite things is looking west towards the Hudson and seeing the sunset between the buildings. The architecture makes the sunset even more spectacular.

  3. Great post, Sarah. I just love reading your posts about NYC life. It's such a contrast to mine here in podunk North Florida. So funny that your son called it a jungle.

  4. Though I live in farmland now I remember the four years in NYC. I don't know that I'd call it a jungle (cute) but there's a lot more green than people realize.

  5. Kathleen -

    You are right. My neighborhood isn't even that verdant as New York neighborhoods go.


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