The Zoey Blog: Bryant Park etc...The Long Goodbye FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bryant Park etc...The Long Goodbye

Awesome candid Zo
Zoey playing in the grass in Bryant Park while the Lincoln Center Jazz Series plays.

It tough to say goodbye to NY, especially when you've got about a dozen favorite spots and not enough time to get to them all. Bryant Park is one of the those places and was a priority, little did we know that we'd be catching some free Lincoln Center Jazz and resting our feet while we were at it. Zoey used the stop to play in the grass and make friends with every damn stranger who passed. Shyness may never be an issue for our little girl.

Zo Dad Playing 3
Zoey and Dad fooling around with "April in Paris" as a soundtrack to their shenanigans.

The view from Bryant Park is my favorite in the entire city...a little piece of green surrounded by towering mid-town buildings and the shadows of the New York Public LIbrary. Then, of course, there's the carousel, the hundreds of people relaxing on the grass. The place is iconic and easily one of my favorites. There are tens of thousands of people who wander through the park each day and the grass is as green and thick as you might imagine a lawn without the foot traffic of one of the world's largest cities. There are children playing and laughing, the sounds of the city aren't as hushed as in Central Park, not at all, and yet it's an oasis of serenity in the heart of some serious craziness. I love it.

Bryant Park is as good a place as any to gather your wits and pretend like you never have to go home.

Grandma was happy to rest her tired feet, after three days of chasing us, and many more miles than she had ever imagined. We took in Rockefeller Plaza and Radio City Music Hall earlier and then shuffled on down to the Park looking as much for the chance to show Grandma as to give her a decent rest in a decent place.

Grandma Zo Bryant park 2
Grandma and Zo chilling out in Bryant Park with the Lincoln Center Jazz Series for company.

I think that everyone is drawn to these places but I find that I gravitate to the parks whenever I'm in the city. The parks are the places that help you feel like you might actually be in rhythm with the rest of the world, every street of this city has you fast forwarding through life, but the parks slow your pace and anchor you to some green. Growing up in the midwest you don't realize what "green" means to us. Step away from cornfields and bush lots and all of the random greenery in our everyday lives and you feel very much like an island. Stumbling into NYC's parks feels like seeing a familiar face.

Bryant Park Montage
Dad and Zo enjoyed themselves with a city soundtrack of live jazz floated above their giggling heads.

Bryant Park is as good a place to spend your last night in NY as any, in fact, better than most. We've become particularly tuned in to the opportunities that allow us the ease of managing this new "family life" with enjoying the good stuff we'd gotten ourselves so used to. Now we look for those opportunities that allow us the freedom to parent AND enjoy -- outdoor concerts, ballparks that let you wander from your seats -- it's the hassle free events that we like now. We want to have Zoey with us. We want to hang out with our precocious offspring and things like the Lincoln Center Jazz Series at Bryant Park is perfect for that. We get the music, get the vibe and atmosphere of doing something fun and cool, and we get to roll around in the grass with our daughter, who also, I might add, is soaking it all up too.

Relaxin Zo candid
Zo relaxin' on Mom with the Dan Nimmer Trio and the Chris Byars Quartet offering sweet Bryant Park lullabies.

Now we look for fun things to do that don't demand that we leave Zo at home, or that we get knee deep into that higher form of maintenance we refer to as "sadly spontaneous parenting"...we're learning that such a thoughtless enterprise makes nothing very much fun. We don't necessarily need to bend over backwards for Zo and, naturally, she shouldn't stumble through some miserable experience on our whim either. It's compromise that we're learning, I suppose.

For example, we'd like to sneak down to the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX this March Break, while Zo's still comfortably portable. The event has a lot of outdoor music venues in parks, etc...and we could likely visit with family and bring some along to help with the task that can be Zo. We could enjoy something we've wanted to take in for years and yet still be a family in doing so. That's not to say that we don't want to break free on occasion, but it's important to us that we don't pawn Zo off just to selfishly sow our own oats. If we were in that kind of space still, well, then we should have just not had any children. Investing in her wholeheartedly makes the most sense to us...ot doting, or spoiling, but spending time and planting seeds. I know that some of you out there get it...Johnny T, Scott and Stace, etc...BTW, I can't think of any other people I'd enjoy SXSW with more than you funsters. Sorry, just planting seeds still.

June Zo Bryant Park x 2
June and Zo enjoying our last day in New York - Bryant Park Fall Festival, Lincoln Center Jazz.

We're just not the type to dump Zo off very often, I don't think, and that's not something that needs to be read into. We are more than comfortable dumping the Zipster off in capable hands, and have done it. We just want to invest in this experience as much as we can, and to be absolutely honest, we worked hard to achieve a kind of been there, done that, life before we settled into kids, and I think we've managed it. Now we want to achieve the same except with Zo in tow, not left behind and missing out. We're happy with the effort so far.

Like the R.E.M. song says, leaving New York's never easy, especially not when it feels like you just saw it for the first time through your daughters eyes.


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