he Leave It Better Kids’ Community Garden, in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx, occupies a corner lot just a few blocks from an elevated part of the subway line that runs along Jerome Avenue. A pawn shop and a run-down deli are on either side, and the Gospel Tabernacle Church is around the corner.
Skating in Central Park with my father, while endearingly tinny versions of “Downtown” and “New York, New York” played over the 1970s loudspeakers, was one of the great pleasures of my urban childhood. In sun and in snow, in heavy coats we eventually shed once we really got moving, we spent hours going around and around the Wollman Rink, looking up at and out into the majesty of the landscape around us, anticipating the hot chocolate to come.
One Guy, One Path: Jon Piasecki’s Stone River
It’s very hard, in this world of stimuli, to make something in nature that’s strong enough to pull you into it.” This is what Jon Piasecki, ASLA, says to me as I come, thanks to him, as close as I ever will to walking on water. We’re standing near the middle of his ethereal Stone River, a winding 900-foot path of mica schist slabs that runs through the center of what was once a wide stone wall on the wooded grounds of a private estate in Dutchess County in eastern New York.
What Kate Orff Sees
The first time it’s mentioned, Orff is piloting a rented white Mustang along a stretch of Interstate 10 between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is early on a January morning, and a light fog drifts around the car, but it can’t cover the ugly, overdeveloped landscape we move through. Chain hotels eventually give way to a huge water park that juts into the horizon, a Hooters, and a sign for something called, apparently without irony, “Ye Olde Downtown Outlet Shops.”