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New York is not a stone jungle: the most interesting parks in the city


Nadezhda Verbitskaya

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Many people think that New York is a stone jungle. But this is a misconception about the city, writes in his blog for “Radio Liberty” Alexander Genis.

Mushrooms in New York City

In Europe, parks were planted artificially. And in the US, these are just natural green areas around which districts and cities have been built. Of course, not all parks are like this. But the Bronx Botanical Garden is just such a real natural oasis in the middle of the city.

About a quarter of the garden is the last virgin forest in New York City. Botanists surrounded the thicket along the banks of the Bronx River with paths, leaving everything as it was here before the arrival of Europeans. This primeval forest serves as a monument to America before colonization.

Another virgin piece of nature can be found in the heart of Greenwich Village. This fenced patch of greenery carefully preserves the island's original landscape.

“Having spent the first third of American life on the northern edge of the island, I studied its forests in the Inwood region. Deer, hares, foxes of amazing beauty and their victims pheasants live here. My wife and I quickly discovered the benefits of this neighborhood. In the early years of American life, missing the Baltic forests, we picked mushrooms here in autumn, and lilies of the valley in May,” writes Genis.

The main miracle of New York - Central Park

Photo: Shutterstock

Central Park is not a virgin forest, it was created by people, but it lives on its own, guided by the laws of nature.

On the subject: Top 7 zoos in New York worth visiting with the whole family

“When the park was invented, the New World was not only new, but also untamed. In the Wild West, which began on the other side of the Hudson, mustangs galloped, bison roamed, scalped and cowboys drove around. New Yorkers admired mustangs only in the zoo, and bison were valued for their smoked tongues. And scalps were seen in museums and cowboys were only read about in westerns, which were novels until they hit Hollywood. Therefore - in the greenhouse conditions of cramped Manhattan - Central Park was supposed to become the Wild West for the internal use of the townspeople. It was artificial, but a real reserve of virgin America. Like a theater within a theater, Central Park exaggerated nature,” explains Genis.

The neat alleys of Central Park do not even try to hide the fact that it was created artificially. But this does not prevent him from being an oasis in the middle of a huge city, which abandoned the central square for the sake of a piece of greenery.

You could always meet celebrities in Central Park. He was adored by Jacqueline Kennedy and American novelist Scott Fitzgerald.

“We settled down a few hours from New York, and I found that every time I arrived in the city, I immediately drowned in a chain of all kinds of events. But one thing remained undeniable: that moment of absolute peace when you drive south through Central Park in the dark, to a place where the light from the facades of 59th Street begins to break through the trees. Before me was again my lost city, calmly wrapped in its secrets and hopes, ”wrote Fitzgerald.

The park still gives visitors this feeling of peace.

High Line Park - the second (after the Statue of Liberty) landmark of New York

This park allows you to admire New York from an unusual point of view.

Photo: IStock

“At first glance, the High Line is just a narrow green strip that stretches over three dozen Manhattan blocks. But at a second glance, it is a masterpiece of conceptual architecture. Its authors call their idea "borrowed landscape". Not so much by changing as by rethinking what has already been done, the park is inhabiting a different dimension of the urban landscape,” said Alexander Genis.

The designers of the High Line decided to create a park out of waste and debris. The park grew up on an abandoned overpass. It is narrow and allows you to walk only along, but at the same time, it offers charming views of New York.

“For a New Yorker, there is nothing more precious than the view from the window. Actually, High Line is why it turned out to be so successful. Walking through the park, we look at the city not from the gallery, not from the stalls, but from the mezzanine: far enough not to mix with the crowd, close enough not to miss a single detail. All of them seem unusual, because we ourselves found ourselves in an altered - uplifted - state. Skyscrapers are visible from the knees. Cars flaunt their roofs, the hills open up beyond the Hudson,” Genis explained.

But most of all, the High Line is striking in that in the process of remaking the ruins into a fashionable park, almost nothing was changed. The grass sprouted itself through the bent levers and a scattering of pebbles, because the designers have kept every rusty little thing.

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