The park may provide the only divider between the parallel neighborhoods, but for me, the Upper West Side may as well be in Jersey. East coast, Upper East Side, I just always thought I was more akin to one over the other. Robert has worked in Lincoln Center for months, yet I have never gone to meet him for happy hour nor had we ever been to Riverside Park. Last week, not only did I put a stop to that, but I somehow ended up walking through the park over to the West Side every day for some errand or just by happenstance.
Rob had told me over and over how different and beautiful the Upper West Side was and how European it looked and I never believed him until I saw the Haussmannian buildings and Victorian/Gothic brownstones for myself. There are fewer high rise 60’s residential buildings and so many more decorative, ornate facades. It seems quieter, more neighborhood-y, more trees. And once you get to the West End, the landscape seems to completely change and you suddenly feel as though you could be in San Francisco. There are classic brownstones built into undulating hills and there is a wide open vista of the Hudson and Riverside Park. It makes you feel like you can finally spread out your arms without smacking someone in the face!
Once inside the vast green strip, boys playing little league, lots of strollers, and packs of dogs with their owners mark the pace of the park. It seems much more private than Central Park, as though it belongs to a different city unto itself. I also couldn’t help but think of You’ve Got Mail, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meeting serendipitously in the center walkway of the park at the end. Great New York movie moment.
Now when I feel like I need a dose of European grandeur, I know to saunter across the park and head west. Though I mostly just walked around taking it all in, (checking out the shops on Columbus and picking up some of Magnolia’s famous banana pudding), I definitely need to try out some of the culinary options and experience some more of the cultural life here. Maybe finally persuade someone to see a ballet with me at Lincoln Center, maybe grab a cocktail at Bar Boulud…stay tuned.
I love my mom’s vintage rose gold ring from the 70’s that I recently discovered in an old box and have worn non-stop since!