October marks my 25th year in the Big Apple (who’s counting?). While some things never change, like waiting for the F train or the glimmer and glamour of the Chrysler building, much has significantly since my arrival here. While tempted to go on about the glut of bars, brunch joints, and big business franchises that have popped up like weeds in my neighborhood (overtaking downtown theater venues and small businesses) or the lack of affordable housing (don’t get me started), I will focus on a few, positive changes that I have noticed in my daily travails.
Low and behold! NYC: Then and Now
The East River Park Amphitheater
Back in my salad days, I would jog around the East River Park unaware at the time that the run down, vandalized structure at the far end was the first home of Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park; hard to image its former glory amidst all the graphite and rubble. After the attacks of September 11th, the amphitheater was restored with a lovely, open design that now holds outdoor concerts and happenings.
Yes, it has a long history dating back to when Lenape Native American tribe called it “Nut Island” in the late 1500’s. My own began about 10 years ago when I first visited the then ghost town with empty buildings that formerly housed military families. I recently returned after not having been there in in several years. What a difference. The Federal Government took over the Island in 2003 and sold the 150 acres to New York with the understanding that it would be for public benefit only. Once abandoned, it is being transformed into a destination for New Yorker’s to enjoy art, music, nature, and biking. Visit https://govisland.com/ for very fun facts and video.
While this is not a structure, it has changed this New Yorker’s life. For almost 20 years I carried my beloved bicycle up 5 flights of stairs after riding to and from work. Not only was my bike stolen IN BROAD DAYLIGHT at a busy corner, but these tired bones cannot recapture the vigor of those early stair climbing days. Citibike has gotten me on the road again without the worry of theft or the heavy hike of my walk up.
What’s next NYC?
Kristen Persinos - Marketing Director