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Monday, April 29, 2013

Chelsea Waterside Park

I only just realized this park by the Hudson River, just north of Chelsea Piers, had its own identity and wasn't simply part of Hudson River Park. Shows you how much I know. And I live half a block from Chelsea.

The Hudson River Park Trust administers Chelsea Waterside Park, which has its own page on the Parks Department website and its name engraved in a wall by the entrance. If you ask me, that makes it a park.

The original parcel became a Parks Department site back in 1915, and when Tammany Hall boss Thomas F. Smith died in 1923 it was named for him. Expanded, renovated, and with its new name, it reopened in 2000 with new facilities. An early spring visit rewarded me with the sight of this blossoming tree.

There's landscaping too, but it wasn't in color so early in the season, so I won't trouble you with a photo. Dog runs are more fun to look at, anyway. In fact they can provide a city explorer with hours of entertainment.

But this dog, like Rudyard Kipling's cat, walks by himself. (Or perhaps, like Bartleby, would just prefer not to.)

Chelsea Waterside Park provides a nice view of the fireboat John J. Harvey and the lightship-turned-bar Frying Pan (where, incidentally, I recommend steering clear of the mixed drinks and sticking with beer).

A sagging section of fence had admitted dozens of springtime revelers the day I came by. On a big undulating swath of grass clearly not intended for present use, frisbees flew, children kicked balls, families picnicked. It was one of those rare occasions in our litigious, nannified society when I observed people getting to play unsupervised, so to speak. A freak event? An oversight? Had the entire universe turned inside out and upside down? I wasn't sure, but it was nice. Incidentally, I'm also a fan of these art deco lamp posts that line the Hudson River parks. They make me want to retrieve my old rubber gorilla from the distant past and climb it up.

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