I’m Loving Me Some River Views

One of the good things about winter is branches bare as bones.

Bare branches reveal the river's proper domination over its namesake park, Riverside.

Oh, I know: in mid-winter, when the pale sky presses down until it hovers barely an inch above your head, when the wind blows savagely off the Hudson like it’s hungry to tear your face off, when everyone you pass on the street has the pinched and pasty look of Dubliners in the 1970s before the Irish imported fresh fruit and vegetables, on days like those, a bit of spring foliage might warm the cockles and lift the spirits.

Spring comes to the secret garden at Saint John's Cathedral.

But the thing about leaves is, all that lush vibrant beauty masks and obscures wondrous things. Like the river.

What river?

From May to October, you can barely see the Hudson through the leaves, unless you head right down to its banks.  A glimpse here and there, sure, but not enough of a vista to appreciate the essential river-ness of the river, the way it moves and the power of its currents flowing north or south with the ocean tides.

The river as sculpture gallery

On calm, clear days, the smooth surface is a broad skein of blue silk. On windy days, it’s a chopped and pitted sheet of metal that Thor pounded with his hammer in a fit of rage. And however it appears, the sight of the river tells me there’s always a way out. Just follow the river to somewhere, anywhere, not here.

Looking north to the George Washington Bridge

By February, I’ll be craving buds and green leaves, but right now, in the middle of this snowy winter, I’m just loving me some river views.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, In the City, January, NYC Parks, Riverside Park

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5 Comments on “I’m Loving Me Some River Views”

  1. Susan DeMark Says:

    Wow, what a great, evocative post of the river on a cold, cold winter day. You are right — there is nothing like it…the wind curling and whipping off the river and those pink, pink, pink sunsets on a late afternoon.

    Love your description here…”when everyone you pass on the street has the pinched and pasty look of Dubliners in the 1970s before the Irish imported fresh fruit and vegetables.” Classic — and I have seen it, under all those layers of black and brown, in every subway car.

    Thanks for such an appreciation of the river in winter.

  2. mthew Says:

    Winter bonus: ice chunks flowing downriver are sometimes spotted with surfing bald eagles. (That’s one thing we don’t get in Brooklyn.) Bring on the cold!

  3. Barbara Says:

    That is one of the most poetic and lyric descriptions of that mighty river I’ve ever read. Love the photos, love the mental images you create as well…. “On calm clear days….Just follow the river to somewhere, anywhere, not here.” Holy smoke! You made me feel like I was right there beside you and Esau watching the heavy movement heading out! Simply beautiful.

  4. p hoey Says:

    A lovely appreciation of a grand & glorious river. Leafy is good, but leafless can be even better: you see it all.Thanks!

  5. daddy0 Says:

    You write like an angel. It is wonderful to read you.


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