It is summertime in New York, and things are coming back to life. Restaurants are open, both indoors and out, subway and street traffic are picking up, and more shops are open.
New Yorkers took last Tuesday’s election very seriously. It was a primary election for Mayor and City Council in Brooklyn. Due to ranked choice voting, final outcome of the election may take weeks to be determined. Along the busy corridors of 7th and 8th Avenues in Park Slope, near the YMCA on 15th Street where early voting was taking place, candidates and their supporters lined every corner, offering literature and greetings. Flyers and brochures proliferated on doorsteps and front gates, and the mail brought a further deluge of campaign literature.
Many of these ardent campaigners came to recognize us as out-of-staters who would not be voting in New York, although I detected a few raised eyebrows. Why was I pushing a baby stroller in Park Slope in the Borough of Brooklyn during summertime in New York if I were not a resident who could vote? One campaigner changed his pitch on the spot to address underpaid childcare workers, which made me laugh.
This vacation is all about family time. Our grandchildren turned two and five years old during our Brooklyn visit. Much development and change took place during the almost a year and a half since I was last able to see the little ones in person. Daily Facetime filled a big need, but it is not the same as an in-person visit. A birthday party, a pre-school graduation, a music class, baseball and soccer, and other activities filled every day from morning to evening, leaving me exhausted and happy to drop into bed at day’s end.
Our daughter and son-in-law live near the beautiful 478-acre Green-Wood Cemetery, a National Historical Landmark. “Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers, and inventors are all among the permanent residents of Green-Wood,” according to Green-Wood’s website. Burials in the cemetery date back to 1840. Green-Wood is a birder’s delight, providing shelter and temporary respite for over 185 species of migrating birds annually.
Some of the wildlife of Green-Wood naturally spills over into the surrounding urban environment. A bold groundhog appears in our family’s back yard on an irregular basis, digging up the grass and eating the tomato plants. A professional trap failed to catch the wily creature, but did manage to capture a young raccoon instead. (It should be noted that wild animals are trapped without harm in Brooklyn, and then are released many miles away).
Dining in New York is also on the upswing, and I was happy to see one of our favorite restaurants, Krupa Grocery, at 231 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn has survived the pandemic. The back patio dining has been modified into a lovely oasis. We also enjoyed an outdoor lunch at Catch NYC in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, sheltered from the deluge of rain that came at the end of the meal. Further, I am convinced that there is no such thing as a bad pizza in all of Manhattan and Brooklyn!
We were fortunate to experience perfect weather during our summertime in New York visit. Most days were sunny and mild with refreshing breezes. Prospect Park is within walking distance of the house, where the grandchildren enjoyed picnics, scooting, and swings, slides, climbing and water play. Eleven days flew by all too quickly, now it is off to District of Columbia via Amtrak for the next part of our journey.