Start at the southern tip of Manhattan, just beside the ferries to Staten Island. You'll find yourself in a garden.
Technically The Battery Bosque is the part beneath the plane trees and The Gardens of Remembrance are along the water, but both blend rather seamlessly into one another.
The plantings are memorable, the Bosque's benches are often empty, and flowers, tourists and hungry New Yorkers share the space.
I have never visited the monuments. They do not attract me.
Alliums attract me.
You must head north, along the Hudson, and you never leave the garden. It changes names all the way, and its character changes, too. You pass huge, open, sunny lawns, hidden crescents of grass, hedges of bayberry and walk under avenues of tall locust trees in the South Cove.
In June you will find ripe juneberries. In April you will find the trees in white bloom.
You can walk beside the water or thread you way through the greener shade.
Along the length of The Esplanade that stretches all the way to the North Cove, there are gorgeous shade plantings.
And by the time you do reach the yachts of the North Cove, you'll be thirsty. We thought about beer at one of the outdoor tables here, but as Vince said in his Frenchified English, It would cut our legs.
We're heading for the Highline, remember?
The World Financial Center Plaza, beside the marina...hot, hot hot...the sun beating down, glass all around amplifying the heat. Yes, loud heat. Tantalizing water. Would a cold beer really be so bad?
Tilia (linden) blossoms hanging high over the hot pavers, their scent held tight in each flower. They only breath out at night, when the city near them becomes enveloped by their perfume.
Walk on, past the parks to the left, on the water, that we do not visit, past Tear Drop Park in its cocoon of highrises, ever north.
In the shade of a building lilies bloom.
Monarda grows against a backdrop of construction at Ground Zero.
Now beside the West Side Highway, sandwiched between the broad Hudson and the eight lane highway, the garden has not been interrupted.
And within the continuous garden which is now the Hudson River Park, there are three choices for walking: The highly trafficked running and bike path, which most people choose, beside the busy highway, the river promenade beside the water, or this raised and undulating boardwalk, flowing between grasses. Was it packed? No, it was empty. The bike lanes were packed. Lemmings.
Well, we're not there yet. Maybe tomorrow. Rest your feet. Bring a camera. Pack a cold beer.