Sunday, September 20, 2009

All Good Things Must Come To An End...

Every week I find myself making excuses of why I can't post on here. Busy with work. Out of town. Internet doesn't work (excuse for the last 2 weeks, thanks TWC). Nothing relevant to post.

So I've decided to retire my blog... I've really enjoyed having an outlet for my random thoughts and ramblings, and I've learned a lot about the blogosphere through maintaining this page (the reason I started the blog in the first place). However, I just can't seem to commit to updating regularly and that defeats the purpose of having a blog!

Thanks to anyone who has been reading and commenting :) I'm still planning on keeping up with my project I started right after graduation so check out my picture a day blog.

All the best,

Monday, September 7, 2009


"You know you're from Sarasota when... you don't know where the "Q" in SRQ comes from but you still refer affectionately to your city by those three letters"

A few highlights from a relaxing weekend at home...

Tampa Airport, welcome homeee

First stop: checked out Dad's new sailboat. Oh, Florida.

Why did I ever leave this?

Village Idiot, classic Sarasota.

home sweet home.

I have to admit, after a few days spent soaking up as much sun as possible and bonding with the parents, I was strangely ready to get back to my crazy cat, tiny apartment and hectic city. Who would have thought after only a few months I'd be calling NYC home...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Home Sweet Home

No matter how great things are going in life, there's always something so special about going home for a few days. Knowing that I don't have to do anything but relax and spend quality time with friends and family for the weekend is just so settling.

Is it weird that within a day I feel right back at home in my old bed from high school and having my mom make me coffee in the morning? It's like I never left. Sure, my room has been rearranged, I haven't lived here for four years, and my baby brother is off at college (all details that force me to realize I'm no longer 17), but it somehow feels like nothing has changed.

I feel so lucky to have a place to go home to that will always feel like home. Unlike many of my friends, I was born and raised in Sarasota. My family has been in the same house almost my entire life, and they have no thoughts of leaving this beautiful city any time soon (as far as I know). It's so sad to me when families move away and my old friends no longer have their home here to come back to. I can't imagine spending Thanksgiving anywhere but here, or going somewhere for Christmas that I can't spend the day at the beach because it's 70 degrees in December.

It's just nice to know that no matter what I'm doing, no matter where I'm living, home and all the emotions that come with it are only a plane ride away.

(PS - While I'm raving about being home, I have to give a little shout out to Siesta Key, which was featured in the New York Times "Escapes" Section yesterday, including pictures from an old friend of mine!)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Now I'm Really Grown Up

It finally happened, the moment I've worked for basically my entire life; I was offered my first entry-level position today.

When you think about it, this is really the reason people go to high school, go to college and beyond. Moving out and getting my first real "big girl job" as I've been calling it has been my goal for as long as I can remember, and I can't believe things are finally falling into place. My risky move of coming to New York without full time employment, my six internships (five of which were unpaid), my exhausting months of working three jobs to support myself, everything is paying off.

I can't even put into words how exciting it is to be truly independent from my parents. Although I've been paying my rent and basically handling everything on my own since I moved to New York, they've been there for me to fall back on and I definitely have had to on a few occasions along the way. Being the great parents that they are, I know they'll always be there for me to fall back on, but I finally feel like I won't have to for the first time.

Another thing that's exciting to realize is that I'll never again be an intern. I've been fortunate enough, through college and after graduating, to have had six amazing internships with great companies that I've been able to learn so much from. There comes a point however, where you just feel ready for the responsibility of a full time job and I've reached that point.

So it goes, another new chapter of my life begins on Tuesday... can't wait to see how this one turns out!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Athens, I Miss You.

It's nearing four months now that I've been out of college (115 days to be exact), but I think I'm just really grasping it for the first time recently. Up until a few weeks ago, it's been summer. For me, and for everyone. I'm never in school at this time of the year, and having so many friends living in New York for just summer internships made me feel like I was one of them. I was last summer, after all.

Somehow it was easy to think that come the middle of August, I would head back to Athens with the rest of my friends. Now it's so weird for me to grasp that my younger friends are sitting in class all day while I'm working and paying my own bills! I guess I had to come to terms with it at some point, but its funny that it took the start of the semester for me that to happen (how much longer can I talk in "semesters"?).

As much as absolutely love living in New York, there's a part of me that really misses sweet little Athens, Georgia. I knew people everywhere I went, I was comfortable in the same home for three years, and I had my safe routine of class and working occasionally... and a little part of me definitely misses that! But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's the just the memories I made in college that I miss. I wouldn't in a million years trade going to class tomorrow for going to work; I'm past that point in my life and it feels good. It's just hard not to miss the friends I made and the traditions that are still going on without me.

Another thing that's hard to swallow... this weekend is the first UGA football game. The first game I'll watch the bulldogs play as an alum, not a student. They'll always be my team, but it's weird to get in the habit of telling people "I went to UGA," not "I'm a student at UGA." It's an away game, so I wouldn't be at the game anyway (Oklahoma is too much of a haul, even for me)... but it's still a weird feeling. I'm used to watching the away games in my living room with my roommates; this weekend I'll actually be home in Sarasota, watching the game with my parents!

I know this is all part of growing up, and as the rest of my friends graduate and move on I'll have less of a pull toward Athens, but right now it's just really weird to realize that chapter of my life has closed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Checklist, Revised.

Apparently I either have time to update several times per day or not at all for weeks... I really am working on being more consistent, I swear (have I mentioned the whole working three jobs thing?).

So I've decided to expand my checklist. I got a good start to it last weekend, but this past week was a crazy busy blur so I need to get going on it again. I got a letter from my grandfather last week that inspired me to add to the list so I can make sure I see all of the great things this city has to offer. He put it best when he said that many New Yorkers take things for granted here and don't do all of the great things that tourists come here to do. There are so many beautiful parks, amazing museums, and unique experiences to be had in this awesome city and I don't want to ever take it for granted! So here goes, the Revised Master Life Checklist:

1. High Line (check!)
2. Thoroughly explore Central Park (considering saving this for when it's a little cooler out/when the leaves start to change)
3. Get into Gramercy Park (ongoing life goal)
4. Top of the Rock/Empire State Building Observation Deck (per a friend's advice, I think I'll opt for ESB at night)
5. Brooklyn Bridge (check!)
6. Walk along the Hudson (check!)
7. Chelsea Piers (check!)
10. Ferry ride from Battery Park to Staten Island/Circle Line boat ride around Manhattan
11. Giants game (in order to fill the void of UGA football/Athens, I'm becoming a pro football fan. I have a lot to learn!)
12. MoMA (I've been but need to go back and spend more time there - free on Fridays from 4 - 8 p.m.)
14. The Met
15. The Frick (free/donations only entry on Sundays before 1 p.m., only $5 for students otherwise - good thing I still have that student ID!)
16. The Whitney (Fridays, 6 - 9 p.m. - free/donations, also has deals for students on a regular basis)
17. Guggenheim (Saturdays, 5:45 - 7:45 p.m. - pay what you wish)

That's going to have to do for now, I'm already getting exhausted thinking about doing all of this! Any other suggestions would still be welcome though :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Killing Several Birds With One Stone

I'm on quite a roll with my checklist - I knew all I had to do was put it in writing to get started on it! I finally went to the High Line today, I can't believe it's taken me this long to get over there. Walking the High Line turned into exploring all of Chelsea, so I can now check off Chelsea Piers, walk along the Hudson, and Chelsea Market (okay, that wasn't even on my list but I've been wanting to do it).

Walking across town, came across this on Park Ave. - apparently NYC closes down major streets for a few hours on certain days for biking and running. How cool!

random street fair I manage to stumble upon every weekend

I made it!

such a cool concept

under the High Line

Chelsea Market is amazing - I need to go back when I'm hungry because everything looked delicious!

inside the Chelsea Market

the closest I've been to water since moving to NYC (Hamptons don't count)

#5, Check!

I'm proud to say that last night I accomplished my first item off my Summer Checklist - walk across the Brooklyn Bridge! It turned into quite an adventure which included getting slightly lost in Brooklyn, almost getting run over by crazy cyclists on the bridge and $5 martinis but I think it was a success....

heading across the bridge

Elle & I

goodbye Manhattan...

...hello Brooklyn!

sketchy hidden stairs under the bridge

Old Fulton St., thought we'd never find you!

After searching all over, we finally found Grimaldi's... and a TWO HOUR wait. That wasn't happening.

We were about to give up on Brooklyn and head home when we saw a sign for $5 martinis... Lychee & pomegranate pear martinis are better than pizza anyway.

Heading back into Manhattan. I can't decide if the bridge is more amazing during the day or at night.

The End.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Checklist: Summer in the City

A lot of my friends who lived and interned in the city made "to do lists" as the last few weeks of the summer wound down. It's a great idea, especially since for so many of them this may be the only time they're really living in New York. I meant to do this last summer but I never wrote it down and before I knew it I was packing up my tiny apartment and heading back to Athens for one last football season (oh yea, and one last year of college. details, details...).

Since I've moved here permanently, I feel like I don't really have an excuse to make one of these check lists. I have no pressing deadline of when I'm leaving, so I can do all of these fun activities whenever I want, right?

Wrong. In a few months (weeks?) it will start to get cold, and this Florida girl will be hibernating in her warm apartment for the few hours a day she's awake but not working. Sooo I've decided to make my own version of the checklist, I'll call it the "things I want to do before it gets too cold to move" list. Since I'm one of those people that has to write things down and check them off to ensure that they actually get done, I figured my blog would be a good place to keep my list safe and sound. Here goes, suggestions are welcome...
  1. Go to the Highline Park. Am I the only person in all of Manhattan who hasn't been yet? I think so. This needs to happen ASAP.

  2. Explore Central Park. Of course I've been to Central Park, but I usually go straight to my normal spot so I think I need to branch out. And also under this category, I can tentatively put "eat at Tavern on the Green." Tentatively because I first need to fit it into my monthly budget. I have been in at night for a party, but I need to go eat a meal there. Or maybe just get a mimosa and call it a day.
  3. Get into Gramercy Park. While I'm on a roll with parks, I figured I should throw it in there. It should be noted that this is more of a life goal, and if I had the opportunity to get into Gramercy Park in the middle of a blizzard I'd leap at it.

  4. Go to the Top of the Rock and/or Observatory Deck at the Empire State Building. I'll probably go with the latter since I now work in the Empire State Building and I think it's cheaper. Anyway, I want to go to one of these places and see the amazing panoramic view of the city just because I never have. And it will probably be more enjoyable in warm weather. Most things are.
  5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (and ideally get pizza at Grimaldi's).
  6. Walk along the Hudson River (I think this can be accomplished in conjunction with #1).
  7. Go to the Chelsea Piers (see above).
  8. Go to the Frying Pan. A bar and restaurant on an old sunken ship, what's not to love?
  9. Go to The Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria. I keep hearing great things about this place as a fun daytime activity on the weekends & they apparently have a great beer selection. Also it would be my first time in Queens (if you don't count switching trains at Jamaica Station).
I thing I'm going to leave it at this for now, although I know I'm missing things. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another New Chapter

Once again, I've fallen off the face of the blogosphere for a bit. I feel like I go through these phases where I update daily and have all sorts of things to write about and then there are weeks where I just can't managed to post a single thing. This time I'm not lacking material, I've just been way too busy to post. Between planning a best friend's birthday, saying goodbye to other friends leaving the city after the summer, and making the transition to a new job (!!) I've been swamped.

Yep, you read right: I'm starting work at a new company this week. Tomorrow will be the last day of my wonderful Peppercom internship and I start at Parasol on Wednesday. I'm sad to say bye to everyone at Peppercom but excited for a new challenge and the next chapter of my career. I'll keep you all posted once I get going with this new job!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Never Stop Learning, Part 3

Since I've talked a few times now about how important it is to keep learning, even after graduation, I'm thinking about making this into a regular weekly topic on here... we'll see if that really happens. Anyway, last week I had the opportunity to listen in to Bad Pitch Blog's "Night School" Teleseminar thanks to a scholarship they gave to several students and professionals (I'm still not really sure which of those categories I fall into these days). Being familiar with Bad Pitch, I knew it would be both informative and entertaining and I wasn't disappointed.

As anyone in PR knows, pitching is crucial to our job but surprisingly many people still don't know what they're doing when it comes to reaching out to reporters (this became obvious through the many examples of material forwarded to Bad Pitch Blog on a regular basis). There was a lot of good information about the art of pitching, but there a few things that stood out to me.
  • Spend the extra time to make sure you're pitching the right person. This led into a conversation about sending mass e-mails and how it should never be done in pitching. By sending out generic e-mails and not respecting the needs of a reporter, we're further and further eroding the credibility of our industry (we've all seen this infamous blog post, case and point). PR professionals should be someone a reporter can trust and even approach for sources, not dread hearing from. Building relationships is key.
  • Journalism vs. blogging = paid vs. passionate. When pitching a blogger, realize that they're writing this blog because they love the topic. Chances are they have another job and life outside of this blog, so take that into consideration as far as how much time they have to read your pitch. Take the extra 10 minutes to become familiar with their content and even leave a comment or two before reaching out to them with a pitch.
  • Reporters complain about the lack of follow up from PR people. I have to admit, this absolutely shocked me. Most of the time when I'm following up with reporters I just feel like I'm harassing them. There were several good points made about how to follow up effectively, such as not starting a follow up call with, "so... did you get the pitch I sent you?" They got it, open with something original and provide new information to go along with your pitch. As was pointed out in the seminar, "pitching isn't a buffet, it's a 7 course meal." Don't give out all the information you have in your pitch, keep it short and continue following up with additional relevant information.
Overall the seminar was definitely helpful, as I know I can always use some tips when it comes to pitching. Thanks to Kevin Dugan and Richard Laermer for this opportunity, and Dr. Karen Russell for bringing it to my attention in the first place.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Time for a Change

As much as I loved my skyline banner, I decided over the weekend it was time for a blog makeover. I wanted something more personal, so I made this one with pictures from all of the "chapters" of my life (if I'm sticking with the book metaphor, which I think I am) - growing up in Sarasota, college in Athens, and now whatever this stage of my life is in New York (adulthood? ah!). Anyway, I'd love some feedback! :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

How Do You Measure Success?

One of the things that is constantly debated in public relations is how to measure the success of a campaign. Now, more than ever, we have to prove our worth as practitioners in order for our clients to appreciate our value to their business.

Last semester, I worked on a campaign to fight poverty in Athens-Clarke County for my capstone public relations class at UGA. There were countless times throughout the grueling semester that we wondered if we were truly making a difference to this daunting problem. We conducted student focus groups, interviewed faculty and attended community meetings to try to figure out what we could do to help. The best solution we could come up with to the problem, from a PR front anyway, was to create an umbrella organization to unite the efforts currently on campus working toward this cause. The presentation to our client (or should I say clients: we had a full classroom of attendees!) went very well, they loved our ideas and were very excited to take what we had come up with and move forward. And then the 21 students who created this initiative graduated and left Athens behind, hoping that the best would come of their plan.

So why am I bringing this up now, months after graduation and after I have moved far away from Athens? Because this article on UGA's Grady College web site popped up in my Google Alerts a few days ago.

Our presentation opened with the quote, "the greatest danger is to let this initiative die out." This article is proof that it won't die out, because there are people who care and are dedicated to carrying out our initiative. If that isn't a successful campaign, I don't know what is.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Never Stop Learning, Part 2

Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to attend Internfest, an event for public relations interns in New York City hosted by the Council of PR Firms and Fleishman-Hillard. There were about 100 interns there from 14 different firms, all eager for advice about entering the job market. The event consisted of two panels and a session with a recruiter from APCO Worldwide, Jessica Lee. The panel speakers discussed what they like about public relations, how they got into the field, and their recommendations for those of us looking to land that coveted entry-level position (check out my post on Pepperdigital about our discussion on social media).

It was especially interesting to hear from a recruiter and learn a little bit more about what they're truly looking for. One of the first things Jessica said, and this shouldn't surprise any of you, is that when she gets an application one of the first things she does is Google the candidate. This reinforces how important it is to always be aware of what is said about you on the Internet, whether it's on one of your own personal sites or otherwise. She also recommended five sites that anyone trying to build a personal brand should be active on: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, VisualCV, and Google profile. I was proud to realize I'm on four of the five sites (task for today: set up my VisualCV).

Jessica equated establishing a personal brand to the way companies establish their brand. After asking for successful brands that resonate with us, she recommended we figure out how to turn ourselves into a Target or a Starbucks. I also liked her point about building our brand even when we're straight out of school and don't have much experience to reference. "Think of Paris Hilton," she said. She is the perfect example of someone who has built her brand based on basically nothing. Does anyone really know what she's famous for? Probably not. Is she a household name? Absolutely.

I definitely enjoyed hearing from the speakers and was so inspired by meeting successful people in the industry as well as my fellow interns. Now to go work on that Visual CV of mine...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Never a Dull Moment

A few days ago, I was asked (as I often am) what exactly I like about public relations. For some reason this is always a hard question to answer, not because I don't know what I like about it but I guess it's just kind of hard to articulate. 

When I first applied to the PR major in UGA's Grady College of Journalism, I have to admit I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I remember some mention in a class of event planning as a career, which I thought was the coolest thing you could do for a job, and after doing some research PR seemed like the logical path to get me there. However, I still didn't know what exactly public relations was. I'd taken marketing classes for my business major, and don't think I really grasped the difference between the two industries. 

The farther I got in my classes, the more I fell in love with the field of public relations. I love the writing, the pitching (as much as anyone can actually love pitching) and all of the opportunities to be creative. I also love the constant interaction with people. I'm really fascinated by people and the way they communicate, so figuring out how to get a client in the public spotlight is so interesting to me.

The one thing I heard over and over about PR, which remains my favorite aspect of a career in this area, is that there is no typical day and there is no such thing as "9 to 5." My worst nightmare would be to go to a job and do the same exact thing every single day without any sort of excitement or variety. This is the opposite of PR. Just this summer I've had so many fun, random experiences from painting baseballs for a giveaway to writing for a newsletter, posting to the company blog to researching why people prefer a certain franchise over competitors. Aside from a few daily monitors, I go in to work every morning having absolutely no idea what to expect from the day - and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

100th Blogiversary

I had another idea for a post tonight but when I logged in I realized I've reached a milestone with my blog - this is my 100th post! Aaand let the nostalgic tangent begin...

I took a minute to read my first post, from the middle of December after a hectic week of informational interviews in NYC. I literally remember that night, staying up all night at my aunt's house in New Jersey thinking about where I would be after graduation. I was so determined to get back to New York after living here last summer, and that week in December was just the beginning of my journey to becoming a New Yorker. One of the interviews I went on was at Peppercom, and after several more rounds of interviews and writing tests, I'm so happy to be interning there. I'm learning so much from some incredible people in the industry I've dreamed about working in, and am having an even more amazing experience than I could have ever hoped for.

The second part to that dream was moving to New York by myself and supporting myself - which I think I'm actually succeeding at too! I have a lot of friends here, though most are just up for the summer, but I'm meeting new people every day and thanks to a few part time jobs I'm avoiding depending on my parents for the most part.

It's so cool to look back to just six months ago and realize how much I've done, and how I've truly accomplished everything I hoped I would by now. Happy anniversary blog, thanks for the memories!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What are the odds?

Almost 2 million people live in Manhattan. I know less than 100 of them. The island is about 20 square miles. So what are the odds that on any given day I'll run into someone I know? 

Apparently pretty small.

I can't get over how frequently it happens! I was keeping track when I first moved here but I lost count. Yesterday while walking to Central Park, my friends happened to be driving right past me on 3rd Avenue (I can't decide what is more bizarre - that I ran into them or that they were driving?). This afternoon I was wandering around near my apartment and ran into a friend I graduated with. These are just two of about 20 random run-ins I've had since I moved here!

I used to get annoyed when Carrie would run into Mr. Big at least once per episode on Sex and the City. Come on, the city is packed full of people - how does she see him that much? Apparently it's not that weird. 

Does everyone experience this or do I just have crazy luck? 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Never Stop Learning

When I first started this blog, I was in college and wrote a lot about my internships and what I was learning in class. I realize lately it has evolved into more of a "Life in New York" diary since I've been so caught up in exploring my new city.  However, just because I'm out of college doesn't mean I'm not still learning about PR - that's what interning is all about (not that it should stop after that)! One of the things I love about my particular internship is the emphasis on our professional growth, which was apparent today in our pitching and writing workshop. 

Of course we're all busy, interns and account executives alike, but it was nice for people to take time out of their day to teach us a thing or two. There were a few key points that really stuck out to me from our workshop that I wanted to talk about and think all people in PR should know.

First, a great quote from our writing workshop:

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very"; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. - Mark Twain

This perfectly articulates the difference between PR writing and creative writing. In PR, we need to say the most we can in the least amount of words. We need to be able to get our point across quickly and effectively to our specific audience, not spend extra time (and words) with superfluous descriptions.

Next, my favorite takeaway from the pitching workshop:

Put yourself in the mindset that when you call to pitch to an editor or reporter, talking to you will be the highlight of their day. Thinking positive will come through in your voice and they will be much more receptive to your pitch.

I love this. There are very few people I know in PR that truly enjoy pitching, even though it's a big part of the job. This silly little tip honestly works though! Pitching is so much easier when you just relax and talk to a reporter like a real person. Be casual, have fun with it. Sure, you'll get the reporters that are still very formal and short, but in general people are much more receptive if you come across as someone they could get along with. 

I won't bore you with all of my notes (even though I still need to type them up for my "intern guide book" - a great idea from one of our intern coordinators), but I just wanted to share those two main points. I think it's easy to assume that once you're out of college, the learning stops there. I'll admit, it did feel weird taking notes from a powerpoint presentation (and I've only been out of school for two months!). I truly enjoyed it, as anyone does when they're learning about a subject they really care about. It's so much easier and more fun to learn about things you're passionate about from successful people in that industry than to sit through a boring lecture on a topic you couldn't care less about in college.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hostess With the Mostest

Before my very much needed mini Hamptons vacation, I got to entertain one of my best friends in the city for a few days. I love having visitors wherever I'm living because I get to show off my city, but it's especially fun in New York because I get an excuse to do all of the touristy things I secretly want to do but can't because I live here now. Here are a few of the best pictures from the week...

Strand, the most amazing book store in the world.

Union Square.

Of course we had to go to Crumbs. We got the caramel apple cupcake, it was amazing.

Farmers Market in Union Square.

It wouldn't be a touristy trip without stopping by Times Square. A little reminder of where we lived last summer.

Ground Zero. I hadn't been in years but it looks frustratingly the same as it did last time I was there.

9/11 Memorials

Empire State Building lit up for the 4th of July.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Quick Vacation

Any New Yorker, no matter how much they love the hustle and bustle of the city, will tell you it is necessary to get out of Manhattan every now and then in order to keep your sanity. After living here a little over a month (does that even make me a New Yorker yet?), I jumped at the opportunity to spend the 4th of July with girlfriends the Hamptons. 

Beautiful sunset before the fireworks started.

Happy 4th of July!

Having grown up in Sarasota, I'm a total beach bum at heart. I love love love living in the city, but sometimes I just need to be by the water (I'm aware Manhattan is an island, but dirty rivers just don't do it for me). East Hampton even reminds me of where I grew up a little bit, so this weekend was very nostalgic and a nice change of pace from what I've experienced since I moved away.

Who knew kids even had lemonade stands anymore? This was way too cute not to stop.

Beautiful day at the beach.

Lazy day in the sun with a silly girly book = perfection.

It was nice having a change of scenery, but I'm glad to be back in the city, sunburned and exhausted. It was cool coming home to my apartment from a night away and truly feeling like I was back home. Even after living here last summer, I could never really call New York home... now I'm finally able to.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Are There Trees in New York?

When I was looking at apartments a few months ago, one of my mother's biggest concerns was where the nearest park was (that, and the fact that the Police Department be across the street from my apartment - check!). I laughed at her of course, I mean who really cares where the closest park is? Who even goes to parks? 

I think part of the reason I never really appreciated parks was that I grew up in Florida. On the water. There were palm trees in my backyard, so I really never had to go far to feel close to nature (yes, I consider palm trees nature). Although I laughed at my silly park-seeking mother a few months ago, I now completely understand her park obsession. Not that there have been many park-friendly days since it's been monsooning pretty steadily since I moved here, but on the rare days that the sun comes out I go straight to a park.

Last summer, I lived 6 blocks from Central Park so that was my go-to park. I actually may not have even realized there were other parks in the city. While Central Park is still my favorite, I've been trying to branch out now that I live in Gramercy, a good hour walk or 20 minute subway ride from my beloved Central Park.  Here are a few of my new favorites...

Stuyvesant Square (on either side of 2nd Ave, between 15th & 17th Streets)

Washington Square Park (at the foot of 5th Ave, between Waverly Place and 4th Street)

Madison Square Park (between 23rd & 26th, 5th & Madison).

Okay, so maybe Gramercy Park shouldn't be on my list since I don't have a key to actually get inside, but I do enjoy walking past it almost every time I leave my apartment since its just a block down. Goal while living in Gramercy = to get inside the park.

According to Wikipedia, there are 1700 public parks in NYC so it looks like I have much more exploring to do. What is your favorite NYC park?