Monday, June 22, 2020

Weekly Theme: Go Take a Hike! 

Its summer....go take a hike, get lost, find something wonderful in the woods to sketch.  If you're thinking this isn't urban sketching you are wrong.  We have wonderful wilderness areas right here in the middle of our city and they in a park right near you. 

Prospect Park forest
Prospect Park Reserve Brooklyn
Two things came together for me last week.  

First, we had a virtual meeting with a number of NYC USK organizers to determine if it was safe to hold large (more than 15 people) group events again.  Sorry to say, it isn't.  BUT we did come up with a idea of how to facilitate our members gathering in small groups to do some sketching keeping social distancing in mind.   Recognizing that many sketchers live in some proximity to other sketchers we will try to create a spreadsheet to help you find your neighbors to have get together in a park near your homes,  Many will be able to walk to one of these locations.  For those willing to use public transit, find others to go out and sketch a bit farther away.

Central Park waterfall
Cental Park Manhattan

Then I read the attached article from Untapped Cities about urban wilderness areas. Perfect confluence of events: a list of nearby sketchers and a list of nearby parks!  

Note: not all the places in the article are easily accessible and you might need a car to get to others. However there are enough accessible by foot or public transit to give you choices. 

Inwood Hill Park
Inwood Park Upper Manhattan
In addition to the parks listed in the article. there are many other parks with wooded areas near your homes. You might know about them or look them up on the city parks department site.

 And let's not forget the beaches and waterways that surround NYC, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester.  For starters there is Gateway National Park that weaves around the wilderness waterways of the NY/NJ, including Jamaica Bay in Queens, Sandy Hook in NJ and a number of facilities on Staten Island.   Check the web site for updated information on park hours:

And here is one little gem that few people know about in Brooklyn. Naval Cemetery Landscape, Brooklyn. Located on the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, it is an oasis of greenery abutting the neighborhoods of Clinton Hill and South Williamsburg.

The Chicago Athenaeum - NAVAL CEMETERY LANDSCAPE | Brooklyn, New ...
Naval Cemetery Landscape
For those living outside the 5 boroughs of NYC there are plenty of choices accessible by car. 


Before you start for a park, check out if you'll need a Westchester County Resident Pass and if parking fees will be collected. It's always good to know the opening and closing hours of the park. Check this information by selecting the park you'll be visiting.

Rt. 117, Pocantico Hills
Tel: (914) 631-1470
Rockefeller-designed carriage trails. Wetlands, woodlands, meadows, fields and lakes. Hiking/ bridle, fishing and nature trails. Visitors Center Art Gallery. Open year-round dawn-dusk.
Long Island
Check your county Parks Department....there are many areas to choose from the Queens border all the way to the tip of Montauk. 
Here is on recommended by Aaron Liebowitz: Caumsett State Park and Preserve in Lloyd Harbor,  was an estate of Marshall Field offering miles of wooded trails, salt marshes, and a long rocky beach facing LI Sound and Cold Spring Harbor. It has historic barns, mansion house ... paved and unpaved paths.
New Jersey
Numerous State and County parks as accessible by car.  Here is a link to State Parks in NJ.

Alley Pond Park lake
Alley Pond Park Queens
So, get out there in the wilderness that is in the middle of our urban center. Get lost and enjoy some respite from the grind of confinement in our apartments.  Remember that even in wilderness areas be aware of social distancing, hand washing and use of masks.  Bring a stool, bug spray and lots of green paint!


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