Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring comes to Astoria

Okay, so it's April now, and time to go back to the old "what did I do this weekend thing." Mostly because it became spring here this weekend, so I'm welcoming the idea of actually doing things again. We've been waiting for spring around here for quite some time. So what did I do with the first sunny, blue-skied weekend of spring? I had the idea to go for a picnic on Roosevelt Island at the new park/monument to FDR, built right by the creepy, former-smallpox hospital.  The park is a good hour long walk from the apartment, which was fine by me because a nice long walk on a beautiful day sounded heavenly. Perhaps less so to Sam who was told of this idea when he came back from a 90-minute spin class, but after being cajoled with the promise of picnic food, we were off.

The walk took us south through Astoria to Long Island City (where a bridge connects Queens to Roosevelt Island). Along the way we stopped at Socrates Sculpture Park, a waterfront park with, as you might imagine, a quite a few rotating sculpture installations. They also have a number of events in the summer including a farmers market, outdoor yoga and pilates, movies and opera, and weird classes on things like urban chicken farming and building coffee tables out of reclaimed wood (I kind of want to take that one, but it's scheduled for when I'll be honeymooning). At any rate, here are some photos of our jaunt:
An artistic photo, courtesy of Sam, showing one sculpture at Socrates. This one has been there since at least August, which is the last time I was at this park.
See that sky? Talk about blue! If only the same could be said for the East River. 

Four Freedoms Park. This was the edge of what would have been a beautiful picnicking lawn except for all the goose shit everywhere. 

A large floating head to commemorate good, old Franklin D. 

The view from our chosen picnic spot at the edge of the monument. It turns out you're not supposed to eat there (although it's not anywhere in the posted signage). Luckily, it took about 10 minutes for the park ranger to get around to telling us that, so we had mostly eaten anyway. 
We ended up punking out on the walk back and taking the bus. As luck would have it though, the one MTA bus that goes to the island also travels about a block from our apartment. We really should go back more often! The problem is there's not too much to do on Roosevelt Island. It's a very odd place, full of high rise apartments and hospitals. There is a lot of green space, 1970s architecture, and people in wheelchairs. It is technically part of Manhattan, though not connected by any bridges, but has the energy of a small town. Well maybe not a small town, but a less-frenetic city. I wouldn't want to live there, but it's a nice enough place to see on a nice spring day.

On Easter Sunday, I went to a friend's house where she made lamb, I brought brocoli salad, and then we gorged on jelly beans. Typical Easter stuff. Before that, (and I'm not sure why I didn't just list those chronologically), I went to Grand Central to see the last day of the Nick Cave (performance artist, not the musician) dancing horses. It's part of the seemingly endless celebration of the Grand Central Centennial celebration. This is what the horses looked like:
Okay, so not a great picture of the horses. This is what happens when Sam doesn't go places with me, and I'm left to my own devices. 
Unfortunately, my friend and I were the not the only people there, so during the actual show all attempts to see the horse dancing were fairly difficult. At one point, I gave up on trying to stand on my toes to see over people and just watched the spectacle in the camera display of the guy in front of me. Luckily, for those readers who have never seen people put on colorful horse costumes and dance around a train station, others filmed it. In fact, this might very well be the video of the guy in front of me (note: they mill around a lot first, the actual horse dancing doesn't start 'til about 7:18).

So other than a rushed scavenger hunt in the Met and watching that new documentary about The Shining, that was pretty much my Easter weekend. Perhaps not the most religious of observances, but I certainly enjoyed it.

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