Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Park Here: The Outdoors in an Indoor Pop-Up Park

I could have been a city kid, no problem.

I grew up with a big yard, pond, swing set, sandbox and even a small hill for sledding. But my favorite activity as a child? Curling up in the corner with a book. (Some things never change.)

Looking back, I realize how lucky I was and how I didn't take advantage of the opportunities I had living in the country. What a cliche, I know. That's why I suspect that all-grown-up city kids idealize the country and think they didn't take advantage of everything the city had to offer.

The grass is always greener, I guess.

Last weekend Paul and I attended a rare instance of the city merging with the country, and plenty of kids were enjoying the outcome. Park Here was a free, temporary, indoor pop-up park in the Soho neighborhood of New York. We visited on Saturday, a day before the five-week venture was set to close (after a two week extension).

Fake grass underfoot, murals on the walls, leaves and branches in every corner -- they all created a delightfully inauthentic outdoor experience. Central Park it was not (although it was nearly as crowded), but you could be excused for thinking that the bird chirps piped in over the speakers at times made it even more relaxing and enjoyable.

The turf was packed with picnickers, families with small children, and couples. We were lucky to snag a giant bean bag chair and read for an hour, taking a break only to eat the gourmet Robicelli's cupcakes we purchased at the entrance -- pomegranate chocolate for me, sesame seed for Paul.

After a bite of the creamiest frosting I've ever tasted, it would be difficult to believe that city parks don't have at least one advantage: better food.

And really, isn't this the best of all worlds? A park where I can still curl up in the corner with a book.

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