Finally! It feels like spring. This winter felt especially long. There was not much snow but it was stayed cold for a long time. In New England where I went to college, spring seemed to arrive really abruptly; like one day it is 20 degrees and snowing, the next day is 50 degrees and there’s mud everywhere, the next day it is 70 degrees and then its summer. But spring comes to New York really slowly, so when that first warm sunny day finally comes around, I am just ready to burst. It is painful for me to inside on the first spring days. I NEED to be outdoors or I’ll loose my mind.
So, what better time to pick up The Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City? I read most over it over the weekend. There’s actually maps and descriptions of really neat city parks. Not just the super stars like Central Park and Prospect Park, but lesser known places like Alley Pond Park in Queens and Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, which used to be the city’s first airport and now features the city’s only (legal) overnight campgrounds. Not only do you get descriptions of the parks but Leslie Day provides directions to the park – via bus, subway or car, gives you maps of park trails, info centers, and parking sites. This is the most helpful thing ever. Besides Central and Propect, I haven’t really been to any other city park. I know they’re out there, but I never knew how to get to them, what they are like, where the entrances where, where to park my car if I drive there. Parks in NYC are just green blobs on a map. But now finally, I have maps to navigate these green blobs and I can’t wait to go exploring and cure my spring fever.
However, the field guide to plants and wildlife is lacking and not that comprehensive. If you’re going on a nature walk to observe wildlife, you’re better off going with a Audubon or Peterson’s field guide. But for natural history and user-friendly info on NYC parks, this book is great. Plus the author lives in a houseboat on the boat basin off 79th St, which is neat.