Spring Fling in Morningside Park: Be Still, My Heart

I love Riverside Park. If you’ve been here before, you probably already know that.  I even wrote an ode to Riverside Park.

I love its Great Retaining Wall, full of raccoons and squirrels.

Riverside's retaining wall holds raccoons, squirrels and the occasional human.

I depend for my peace of mind on its sweeping views of the Hudson,

I love its – but this post is not about Riverside Park.

This post is about, well, there’s just no easy way to say this:

I’ve found a new love, and its name … is Morningside.

Maybe it’s just a springtime infatuation, fueled by the sight of nesting birds and soaring hawks, and the need to conduct a brief field study for my Ornithology class. Only time will tell if my love will endure.

But the fact is, I’ve tumbled hard for Morningside Park

I love the little pond where geese and ducks pal around with turtles and bullfrogs.

Goose and turtle

Big Daddy is easily eight inches long and very calm.

On one visit, I counted 40 basking turtles.

Heading for a drink


Pigeons stroll along the path or forage on the grass with the geese.

Red-winged blackbirds perch on tall reeds in front of the little island, flashing their epaulets and calling like electrical wiring gone bad.

Egrets roost in the treetops

and hunt at the water’s edge

Morningside even has a magnificent Olmstead retaining walland mysterious old structures

It has beauty

It has danger

and it has mystery

O woe! Our feet have run away and left us.

Oh, I still love Riverside and in the evenings, I still watch the raccoons

(Yes, they’re fine, thank you for asking, and sporting silvery ear tags like pirate earrings that prove they’ve received their rabies vaccinations)

Riverside Baby Raccoon by Jae Bin Anh

But as long as the geese and blackbirds are nesting, these fresh April mornings belong …

to Morningside.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, April, Birds, In the City, raccoons, Wildlife/Natural History

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13 Comments on “Spring Fling in Morningside Park: Be Still, My Heart”

  1. […] after strolling the grounds of Saint John the Divine to check on the peacocks, I continued east to Morningside Park.  A downed tree completely blocked the 110th Street […]

  2. Gary Wright Says:

    I too recently discovered delightful Morningside Park during a National Trails Day Giraffe Path morning/afternoon. Went back the next week to see if perhaps my initial perception had been overly effusive. Nope. Explored the upper paths this time & it’s splendid, thrilling views down upon the lower Eastern paths way down below. I’m now on the mailing list on their friends of Morningside group. Please add more pics. U have a really nice talent there. :-)

  3. […] indulged for months in a thrilling spring-into-summer fling with Morningside Park. Lush Life: Early Summer in Morningside Park New goose Ma, I can […]

  4. […] I’m talking about something more than simple botanical imperatives here.  Blowzy and past their early summer prime, the parks exude a kind of over-ripe dissoluteness, a laxness that feels, well, moral. I’m […]

  5. […] taken on a new function. It’s a pigeon boudoir,” she wrote this spring. A couple weeks later, a post celebrated the animals of Morningside Park with a photo catalog of frogs, turtles and a nesting egret, among other local wildlife. The […]

  6. Dawn Fine Says:

    Great post! the first photo the person looks like a heart shape..
    Love the danger and mystery..
    must go visit there when we visit our daughter in june..

    • Melissa Says:

      If you visit, Dawn, be sure to spend some time inside the cathedral as well as on the grounds – it’s quite an experience.

  7. mthew Says:

    I’ve a feeling you’re actually a multi-park kind of woman. Two would hardly be enough for you.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    I won’t tell Riverside, in fact, when the dog and I walked there last night I kept dropping your name and no one was the wiser. I always believed it was okay to love two parks at one time. Why not? It’s beautiful there, as your post attests.

  9. Just dropped by to catch up. Loved the circles, reading on the pigeon antics, the white birds and discovering Morningside. Thanks for bringing a flavour of spring in NYC into my Hertfordshire home.

    • Melissa Says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Mark. This has been such a particularly gorgeous NYC spring. (For some reason, your comment was languishing in my spam folder – sorry about that!)

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