Before I moved to New York City, I thought Central Park was just another ‘must see’ tourist spot. But when I moved here last year, my perspective quickly changed. I understood the necessity of this park—the true meaning it held for the people who live here. I am eternally grateful to the people who had the foresight not only to conserve this piece of prime real estate (worth billions upon billions of dollars), but to cultivate it. Did you know that not one plant, tree, shrub or flower is indigenous to Central Park? In fact, the land was so infertile that they had to transport 18,500 cubic yards of topsoil from New Jersey to Central Park. It was all planted to create a sanctuary for New Yorkers who work too hard and too long with hardly a tree in sight.

In spring, summer, and fall, I run throughout the park in the morning. Andy walks home through the park in the evening. We have picnics there on the weekends (and even weeknights!). Every Saturday and Sunday morning starts with, “Let’s go to the park.” We play frisbee, get sun tans, read the newspaper and listen to music. We get ice cream cones, lie on blankets and feel the grass in between our toes. I celebrated my birthday in the park last May with more than a dozen friends. Simply put, it makes us happy. But more than that, this green space keeps us sane.

Like many across the United States, we’ve had a hard winter and those summer days seem long ago. But the Cherry trees around the reservoir in Central Park are in full blossom, the dogwood buds have burst into flower and the green and white tree-lined streets are enough to make even the most hardened New Yorker smile. Crocuses that were poking their heads out of the thawing ground in March are now splashing color over the softened earth. I wish the weather was a little warmer, but I am ready to have a picnic right here.

Tomorrow is Earth Day and the Nature Conservancy has organized a Picnic for the Planet so that we can “celebrate the planet we live on with good food and great people.” I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing tomorrow. Andy has the day off so we’re heading to Central Park, renting a boat and having a picnic. Among other things, I’ll be bringing my Mom’s Black and White Bean Caviar which I love. It’s like really salsa, but with the addition of the beans, it’s better!

 

For more picnic ideas, visit these blogs!

Simple Bites | Pressed Sandwiches
My Baking Addiction | Mixed Berry Cheesecakes in a Jar
Bluebonnets & Brownies | Nanny’s Potato Salad
Gourmande in the Kitchen | Honey Ginger Lemonade
Dine & Dish | Sangria
Add A Pinch | Herbed Tortellini Salad
Bakers Royale | Fruit Recipe Roundup
Three Many Cooks | Black and White Caviar
Food for My Family | Homemade Potato Chips and Avocado Ranch Dip
Sugarcrafter | Apple Hand Pies
Tickled Red | Tangy Potato Salad
What’s Cooking with Kids | Kale Chips
Confessions of a Cookbook Queen | Mini Lemonade Cakes
TidyMom | Picnic Pies in a Jar