Show me the green

Spring in Central Park
Spring in Central Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New Yorkers are crazy. We all know that. But sometimes they’re crazy in a very sane way.

Take real estate, for instance. They pay, on average, about 50 cents on the dollar, or roughly $400 per square foot in even a small apartment/condo, for a bit of outdoor space.

Let me translate that for you: a 1,000-foot, two-bedroom apartment would cost you roughly $80,000 more than the original asking price if it includes a measly 200-foot terrace.

I get that. I really do.

Maybe I’m crazy too.

I understand why Central Park is jammed with foot traffic on the weekend. Why people in cars will sit in lines for hours trying to reach the nature nirvana the Hamptons offers.

Green = therapy.  Green = sanity. Green = perspective.

Why do people move to Colorado? Because watching a thunderstorm brew over the Rockies reminds you that your problems are Lilliputian when looked at in the grand scheme of things. Listening to your boss, or the PTA president, or your mother-in-law kvetch at you over the phone while in a tiny cubicle in the middle of a concrete jungle? Not so fun.  Doing the same with a view of the ocean, the mountains or at least a garden? Still not so fun but definitely more manageable. Studies from institutions like the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo have shown nature walks lower blood pressure—but did you need a study to tell you that? Probably not.

These facts bubble around my brain because it has been a tough couple of weeks, for reasons I won’t go into (aren’t you glad?). And I did not seek out long talks with friends. I did not seek out overly intense workouts. All I could think of was—get me to the woods.

I think this is a remembered habit from my youth. I grew up with a field and forest behind my house. When sad or lonely, I’d head there. Pick wildflowers. Do some creek walking. Stare at the sun on the leaves. And I’d return to the hustle and bustle of our house only when calmer.

This past weekend, I took our black Lab walking in the woods. It was quiet. Serene. Green.

We did not get back into the car until I felt centered again. It took about 45 minutes in all.

No therapist in the world, no matter how good, can do that for you. Just ask all the New Yorkers paying their shrinks $200 per hour—and heading out to the Hamptons every weekend for a little nature walk.



11 Comments Add yours

  1. Tara says:

    One thing you forgot to emphasize about the expensive outdoor – or any – space in New York City, is that it’s in New York City. Rent is cheaper elsewhere, but paying cheaper rent elsewhere means I don’t get to live in New York City. I love living here.

    I do, however, commute (via foot) daily through Central Park, so that probably helps.

    1. candidkay says:

      I hear you–Broadway, Central Park, MOMA, the crack pie at Momofuku–all can’t be beat:)

  2. I’m so grateful to live in a place in NW CT that I can afford where I have space for a garden right outside my back door. Woods are good, but it doesn’t cost me any gas to go to my garden and I can be there in an instant & get my Nature fix.

    1. candidkay says:

      And gardens are so very soothing. Something about digging that heals like nothing else.

  3. Anne says:

    You are so right! I used to do that so often & then when you mix in seeing wildlife that is a bonus. The less people there are the better the walk. That is actually when a lot of my praying goes on too as it is the perfect time & setting. I really have to return to that mode as I have gotten away from it.

    1. candidkay says:

      Hope you squeeze in a walk this weekend . . .

  4. I miss the nature. Not just for me but especially for my kids. Growing up in NYC can be awesome…but it’s never really green.

    1. candidkay says:

      I hear you! And yet, MOMA and Broadway outside your door are phenom, too. Lots of walks in Central Park, I’m guessing?

  5. Pat Bertram says:

    I’m away from Colorado right now, but I’ve learned to find tranquility in the desert. No green, just lots of brown earth and blue skies and wide open spaces.

    1. candidkay says:

      I think that might take some effort on my part–but nature itself is calming, right? Even when it’s dry and brown:).

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