My favorite author once said-
It seems very safe to me to be surrounded by green growing things, and water–
Vault Hill Meadow, Van Cortlandt Park. June, 2013.
Barbara Kingsolver is one of my idols, she is able to bring botany, ecology, evolution and nature into fictional novels and communicate these concepts in a way that relates to a non-scientist audience. I’m in the middle of reading her most recent novel Flight Behavior. This novel takes place in Tennessee, a place I lived before New York City. What I like best about her novels are how they describe the connections between humans and nature.
East River Park. View of the Williamsburg Bridge, June, 2013.
View of Brooklyn and Manhattan from the F train, July 2013.
There comes a point after living in New York City for several years that the buildings, the people, the smells all become normal and you forget you live in a city of over 8 million. Catching this view I remember what a big city this is and in my own life one of the reasons this metropolis is so livable are the city parks. I encourage every New Yorker or visitor to take a train ride to a new park!
After a short hiatus I have a years worth of pictures to share from exploring all the green corners of this great city. This old Toyota has sat year after year in Pelham Bay Park, turning to a muted yellow and blending into the bramble vegetation.
While New York City has incredible nature in it’s near 30,000 acres of city parks sometimes a night in a tent under the stars is required to feel like you’ve immersed yourself in nature. As a New York City resident and camper, this normally means getting in a car and driving upstate or to some destination several hours away, by car.
Last week, I found one of my new favorite campsites that you can travel to from New York City by train (actually subway to train to ferry)! In just under 3 hours I had left my apartment steps and had reached a designated wilderness area. The National Park side of Fire Island, a long linear barrier island off of Long Island, is home to the Otis Pike High Dune Wilderness. It offers 7 miles of desolate beaches and free wilderness camping! It is meant to protect the fragile native dune ecosystems that have since disappeared along with the development of the eastern shore and with the popularity of beaches.
Even if it was just for a night, camping on the beach, under the stars made me feel far far away from my urban home. If you go, just remember bug spray!
I spent the morning at marine park in south Brooklyn. Over the past few years invasive plants have been removed and native trees and grasses planted. Before this area was a park it was a landfill, specifically a glass dump. When we planted the area I clearly remember all of the glass and trash in the soil. This morning I found a young healthy coastal forest and equally as important a native understory-and honestly i was hard pressed to find the abundance of glass and trash that was there just a few years ago. This snowy egret was wading close to the wetland restoration.
I was one of only a few people walking around Highland Park today. Located on the Queens -Brooklyn border I walked the trail under the dense oak-black cherry-sassafras canopy. The last time I was here was after one of the cities only snow storms this winter. Today I caught a glimpse of what I think is a Kingfisher resting along a downed oak in the parks wetland.
It is very hard to see but on the thin branch sticking out of the water is what I think is a Kingfisher-I only got a glimpse before it flew off.
I took this shot last January after one of our only snowstorms.