The Green Apple

11 08 2010

Tony takes us on a eco-tour of New York City amidst the beautiful chaos and concrete jungle – a wonderful and different side of the Big Apple

Words and Photos by Tony Gazso

I made my way past the crowds of people. Out-of-towners and New Yorkers alike. Up past the joggers, and the sightseers. And as I go, the crowds thin. Slowly, but surely, I leave more and more of them behind until I’m lost in the woods. Wandering through dirt paths along a stream. Underneath a hidden stone archway, I climb to the top of a waterfall and sit on the rocks looking down as the ravine continues below. At last I am alone with my thoughts. The occasional person passes through, but for the most part, it’s just me. I hear the water as it runs down the rocks to the stream below. Birds chirping, even the occasional raccoon high up in the trees. Am I relaxing at some forest retreat in upstate New York? No, I am in Central Park.

In a city that never sleeps, everyone needs some quiet. And New York City has no shortage of it, if you know where to look. Central Park is a very busy place, especially on weekends, but the vast majority of people visiting the park, visit the southern half. That is, after all, where all the “sites” are. At least that’s what people think, but it’s the north end of the park that’s the quiet end. Even on a busy, summer weekend, very few people go to the North Woods. It is the quietest spot in the park, and not many people even know it’s there. It’s easy to forget you are in New York City, which is something most of us New Yorkers need from time to time.

There are quiet spots all over this city. Some of them are out of the way places, some are seemingly in the middle of it all. But if it’s quiet you seek in NYC, then I’ll et you in on some of the best places to find it. Queens is one of the best places to find some quiet spots. It always interests me that when people visit NYC, they tend to only visit Manhattan or maybe part of Brooklyn, and they are still amazed by how big the city is without stepping foot in the largest of the 5 boroughs. I may be biased, after all, I lve in Queens, but Queens has some great places, and not too far from Manhattan. Socrates Sculpture Park is one of those spots. Located right on the East River, Socrates is a great place to wander, sit and relax, and take in the ever changing sculpture installations. It’s rarely filled with people, and gives a sense of seclusion, while also giving you a great view of Roosevelt Island, and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The nearby Noguchi Museum is also a great place for a little escape. They have an outdoor area with sculptures from the Japanese artist that beats most other “quiet” spots at the busier museums. If you venture further into Queens, you’ll find the site of the old New York Worlds Fair. Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a sprawling, fairly quiet park on the grounds of the fair. If you do head out there, the Queens Museum of Art is worth checking out. This relatively quiet museum features changing exhibitions, but its claim to fame is the Panorama of New York. A scaled model of the entire city that was unveiled during the 1964 Worlds Fair (The museum is in what was the Hall of New York.) The Panorama is updated, and really gives you an appreciation for how big the city is.

“Queens is one of the best places to find some quiet spots. It always interests me that when people visit NYC, they tend to only visit Manhattan or maybe part of Brooklyn, and they are still amazed by how big the city is without stepping foot in the largest of the 5 boroughs”

Moving north, the Bronx is another underrated place for some seclusion. To most, the Bronx brings images of poor, unsafe neighborhoods, but the Bronx is home to some of the most scenic spots in the city. Just north of the Bronx Zoo (a great trip in its own right) is the New York Botanical Garden. The greenhouses attract visitors, but if its an escape you want, wander the grounds. You’ll find some of the most picturesque spots along the Bronx River which runs through both the garden, and the zoo. Van Courtlandt Park is another beautiful retreat. A spot full of wooded hiking trails that are easy to navigate, and even easier to get lost in.

That’s great, but what about Manhattan? Well, the most densely populated borough has it’s share of spots, though they aren’t as large as spots in the outer boroughs. However, if you want to escape without leaving Manhattan, you’re best bet is to head uptown…way uptown to Fort Tyron Park. Located on one of the highest natural spots in all of New York City, Fort Tyron Park give you a great view of the Hudson, and the New Jersey Palisades on the other side. There’s no shortage of things to do here either. In addition to typical park activities, the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) displays a great selection of medieval art. The most scenic part of the NYC Greenway is also up here, just across the Henry Hudson Parkway from Fort Tyron. The Greenway is a bicycle path that circumnavigates the island of Manhattan. The path from up near the Cloisters is almost as high as the park, but takes you downhill to the waterfront just underneath the George Washington Bridge. If not for the bridge, it would be very easy to forget you were in the big apple. Lower Manhattan has some spots where it’s quiet, Hudson River Park, Thompkins Square Park, but while technically quiet, they do have a good amount of people wandering around. Not necessarily a bad thing, but if escaping the hustle and bustle is your goal, then they might not be the best solutions….

There are far more places to go to get out of the city without getting out of the city. Some of which intrigue me, but unfortunately I have yet to visit. Places like the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Forest Hills Park, the Elevated Acre, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. The list goes on and on. I love exploring the city, and do so all the time. It’s best way to find things you didn’t know existed, like a little secluded spot in the middle of the Big Apple. Maybe I’ll run into you while exploring the city. Maybe I even inspired some of you to check out the outer boroughs bex time your in New York City.

Tony is a Cleveland native and has called New York City his home in the last 7 years. A graduate of Arts School, he enjoys nature and owns too many toys for someone his age.

If you won a free trip to anywhere in the world where would you go?
Well, I’d say a trip around the world, but assuming I’m supposed to pick one place I guess I would say a Wildlife trip to a Central/South American Rainforest.

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Heaven is Here: Pacific Coast Highway

2 05 2010

A pictorial journey from Los Angeles to San Francisco.


So long, city of Angels


…and then we passed by a wiener truck.



Crane City


And the pretty pictures start now…



The 7 hour drive turned 12 hour drive is well worth it in the end.
I mean, how can’t it be when this is what is waiting for you on the side of the road?
Breathtaking…

All photos taken by me.





Capture: Yellow Cabbies

18 09 2009

After spending almost an eternity trying to get out of Central Park I finally found an exit and landed myself on Central Park West Drive. The day was pretty gloomy but the weather wasn’t aweful that made walking around the Big Apple bearable.

At the crossing of 87th, the stop light turned red and got my attention as the row of vehicles waiting for traffic were mostly the famous yellow New York cabbies but one black vehicle. There are apporximately 10,000 of these infamous taxicabs roaming around Manhattan and I thought this photo speaks for the amount of taxicabs in the city.

Yellow Cabbies” photo taken by me. Manhattan, New York





Video: San Francisco

1 04 2009


Thought I’d like to share my video of my trip to San Francisco =) Taken Nov. 2008