Wednesday, July 25, 2018

I Went to Barcelona In Search of the American Dream

How the Traveling Writer Ended up Living in Barcelona

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

This week I tell you the adventure story of how I ended up living in Barcelona after a year in Paris. 

It started with Paris in winter. On November 1, it was as if some celestial being put a hand on a dimmer switch and steadily, then increasingly rapidly, reduced the amount of light. 

Paris is a lot more north than New York City, which means summer evenings are much longer and winter days much shorter. I was accustomed to things getting lighter at about 6:30. and the sun being up, shining through my commuter train window, by 7. In Paris, things don’t start getting light until 7:30, and the sun doesn’t rise until 8. That extra hour of darkness in the mornings just about killed me. 

And in Paris, once the sun is up, it’s usually blocked by huge thick clouds. Also, the light is dim because the sun is low – not even rising above the roofs of two-story buildings. I was so starved for light that I would watch for a sunbeam to strike the ground outside my studio apartment window. When it did, I learned I had to run out and bask in it immediately because it wouldn’t last long. 

Sometimes I was in the library in Le Marais and had to dash out to the street, stand on the corner with my face to the weak sun. People would bump me in annoyance, but I didn’t care. I was doing a survival tactic. When the sun came out, it would only last a few minutes. Then moisture from the earth would rise, or the clouds would shift, the sun would be blocked, and a sunlit moment wouldn’t occur for another couple of days. Or weeks. 

By December 1, I felt ill with lack of light. People told me to take Vitamin D-3 and to burn candles all day indoors. “That’s how the Swedes get through the winter,” said someone who had lived in Sweden for two years. Candles didn’t cut it. Vitamin D-3 didn’t either. Standing in an occasional sunbeam for five minutes didn’t do much for me. I was suffering. 

I decided that I would never be able to live through a winter in London or Dublin or Stockholm or Copenhagen or Berlin. Nothing further north than Paris. Not ever.

Tres elegante! The skies were rarely clear in winter, however, making for feelings of desperation for light.

There are no right-angle intersections in Paris. Instead, delightful buildings like this one perch on odd-shaped corners.

Just outside Notre Dame, a woman dressed like a bride.  She wandered off, and so did the horseback- mounted policeman and the child.

Paris winters aren’t bitter cold usually—the temperature held steady at 33 degrees the winter I was there—but the lack of light makes life difficult. What to do to feel better? Go someplace sunny in the south. This is why Northern Europeans have been going to Italy and Spain and the South of France for centuries. 

I got on that bandwagon. I decided to check out Barcelona in January. A bright spot of sun to look forward to halfway through the winter would help me make it to spring. 

I took the Train Grand Vitesse (“Very Fast Train,” literally) to Barcelona on my birthday. I stayed in a hostel not far from the main tourist attractions. The city was sunny! It was in the low 50s in daytime! I sat on a bench in the sun and basked.

Serendipities while in search of the American Dream 

Now comes the Higher Power / serendipity part of the story. In the hostel I stayed in, I sat at the row of computers one evening to check email. A handsome young guy sat next to me to do the same, and we got to chatting. I said my one-year creative writing sabbatical in Paris was half over, and I needed to start planning my next step. I wanted to stay in Europe, but I had no idea how I could do that. 

“Check out,” the kid said. “In exchange for room and board, you give a certain number of hours per day to a farmer or a family. Check out the jobs. They’re all over the world.” 

He was right. There were hundreds of jobs. I could work on an organic olive tree farm on Crete, or a kangaroo ranch in Australia, or be a nanny to kids in Spain--in Barcelona to be exact. 

One ad said that the three boys in the family were in school nine hours a day, and I would have weekends free. That meant I could keep my writing life going! I could write while the kids were in school. 

I looked for a similar job in Paris, but the winter there had been so difficult for me, I didn’t look all that hard. I wanted an adventure in a sunnier location. I checked for a Meet-up in Barcelona of a writers group in English, and there was one! I had what I needed! 

I got in touch with the Barcelona family immediately, and after a few months the whole thing was in place – the nanny job, the Spanish visa, the Very Fast Train reservation to Barcelona in July. Here's a few scenes from Barcelona:

A mysterious Catalan courtyard

Exquisite wrought iron and architectural details.

A narrow doorway onto a narrow walkway. Perhaps a Catalan princess mourned her true love here?

Don't you wish you lived here?

 Next week: the challenge of being a nanny to three Catalan boys.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

In Search of the American Dream: a coffee shop, a new but forever friend, and...

How I Gained a Sponsor in France

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I'm hoping you'll come on a journey with me, the Traveling Writer!

Here we continue the story of how I got to live in Paris for a one-year creative writing sabbatical...

I was hoping so much to get to Paris. I carefully calculated expenses, then converted everything to euros. At that point, the exchange rate was steep: 1.35 US dollars to buy 1 euro. It caused me some anxiety. I could just barely make it at that rate. What if it went up?

It was serendipitous when it finally changed to 1.15 to 1--and stayed there.

In hopes of someday being in Paris, I studied French online – “Learn French with Vincent.” It was a terrific course of study. I learned that the French do not have a word for “ninety.” Instead they say, “four times 20 plus ten.” It seemed a bit cumbersome to me, but it was their language, who was I to judge?

I was filling out the forms for the French visa – they were in French, so I had to use Google Translate to make sure I was filling out the blanks correctly.

But there was one big hole in my visa application: I still needed a French sponsor. All my networking with church friends had not provided one. I’d been told by my one contact in Paris, the pastor of a start-up Protestant congregation in the Latin Quarter, that I needed to find a homeowner in France.

How does one go about doing that, exactly? Even in our miraculous age of technology, it would be impossible to find a trustworthy landowning French person who would trust ME enough to write a letter to their government that basically guaranteed that, if I became destitute, they would keep me off the streets and out of the French government’s hair.

It was a sticky problem I couldn’t solve on my own. So I asked HP for help. Weeks went by. 

I explored coastal Connecticut on occasion and went back to New London, Stonington, all the picturesque places that reminded me of my mom and dad's twenty years in Mystic.

Mystic has tons of adorable houses and gardens.

It wouldn't be coastal Connecticut without whaling vessels.  Here's the Charles W. Morgan, restored as a whaling ship, docked at the public pier in New London, CT.

People swarmed over the ship.

19th Century sailors added to the festivities.

An 19th century sailor scooting back to the pier.

The ship's wheel, a rather important feature.

It wouldn't be an 19th century ship without tiny bunks and people saying, "How did they fit?"

More pics of coastal Connecticut here.

On Memorial Day I took a break from cleaning out my mother’s condo and went to the Green Marble Coffee Shop in Mystic for elevensies. 

I was sitting at the outdoor tables, sipping the best coffee ever – Sumatran Italian Roast – when I saw a woman approach the door of the coffee shop.

“She seems like an exceptionally nice person,” I thought. “It would be nice if we had a chance to chat.”

The Search for the American Dream Takes a Twist

She came out a few minutes later with coffee and a newspaper. She “happened” to pick the table and chair next to mine.

“America in Denial” was the huge headline.

“What’s America in denial about?” I asked her. Seemed like a great opening gambit.

It turned out well for me.

“Gun control,” she said, and we so easily started to chat. I really liked this person! She was a wonderful human being. We were enjoying great rapport, trading stories and jokes. So when she asked me what I was up to, I answered honestly.

“Well, my mother just died two months ago. I’m cleaning out her condo for my brothers and sisters – her home is unbelievably jammed. Anyway, I’m working on that but I found this book. A Writer’s Paris. It says if you’re an American writer, you really have to go live and write in Paris. I want to very badly. I have the opportunity now. But I need a sponsor, and it has to be someone who owns property in France.”

There was a bit of a pause.

“I own three properties in France,” she said.

I felt as though the sun stood in place for an hour. I sensed that HP was on the move again!

We talked about it, and I knew it would be a huge risk for her to trust a total stranger to uphold her reputation with the French government.

I invited her and her boyfriend to meet me for dinner for three nights later.

We met at the Captain Daniel Packer Inn in Mystic and talked some more. Once again, my impression of Hope was that she was an exceptional human being, that she was very much considering sponsoring me.

During dinner she said that her former husband, a Frenchman, and she had been divorced several years ago but that they still jointly owned a house in the Paris suburbs, a chalet in the French Alps that was inaccessible five months a year, and some other land. She laid it all on the line and said that at her word, he would be willing to sponsor me for my visa to France!

It was a night for lots of thank you’s to HP.

I went back at it with the French paperwork. I asked Hope’s former husband to provide a copy of his mortgage, his gas or electric bill, his French ID card, and a signed letter that he’d keep me off the streets.

The leap of faith both these people took is still stunning to me. Would I have done the same for a stranger? Hope and her ex are very fine people and set a high example for me.

Needless to say, I’ve kept in touch with her and sent her an honorary copy of The Paris Writers Circle. It probably wouldn’t exist except for her and her ex.

Next week: my favorite pics from Paris, and how I ended up living in Barcelona after a year in Paris.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

In Search of the American Dream -- an American Writer Wants to Go to Paris to Write

How a Traveling Writer Ended Up in Paris -- Part II

by Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I was living with my frail, tiny, 84-year-old mother, cooking for her, trying to tempt her to eat by making foods just the way she liked. After breakfast, which she picked at, her aide would arrive, and I would be free for a few hours.
So I explored coastal Connecticut. My mother lived in Mystic, which in itself is mystical. Route 1 went through Mystic and over its iconic drawbridge. Strung along Route 1 was a series of towns that were historic, interesting, beautiful: Stonington, Niantic, Madison, Old Lyme.

The Traveling Writer In Search of the American Dream
The Charles W. Morgan was refurbished in Mystic, then sailed--for the first time in many decades--to New London for tours by the public.

The Traveling Writer In Search of the American Dream
Arriving by ferry into New London one evening, I caught the Charles W. Morgan silhouetted against the sunset.

The Traveling Writer In Search of the American Dream
The lighthouse just outside New London.

One of the lovely historic homes in Stonington, CT.

More pics of coastal Connecticut here and here.

In Search of the American Dream Takes a Twist

One day, I took Route 1 to New London. It has lots of history as a whaling and fishing town. It's suffered hard times for many decades, but it’s now gaining ground slowly with some recovery downtown.
I wandered among the historic commercial architecture downtown and suddenly spied something that I’d never noticed before: an independent bookstore!
I dashed in. It was a cold January day, with freezing blasts of bone-chill air off the Long Island Sound. The bookstore’s huge picture windows were steamed up with the temperature difference between indoors and out.
I was delighted with what I found inside: a grand piano covered with an eclectic collection of antiques and memorabilia. A cafĂ© with chairs and tables along the huge storefront windows. New Londoners sat talking, discussing their latest projects. 
I hunted for the owner. He was holding his nine-month old son on one hip and writing inventory with one hand.

“I love indie bookstores, and I support them by writing about them on my blog,” I said. “Can I take some pictures?”
“Sure,” he said. So I poked around with my camera.

"Buy a Book! You'll still be cold...but at least you will have a book!"
I stepped out of the bookstore later, into the cold air, with a book that changed my life.

The owner with his baby son.

Where the family hung out during long days in the shop.

I love the old tin ceilings.

The piano: piled with books!

The cafe, where New Londoners discussed their latest projects.

The owner made coffee, bobbled the baby, and sold books.

Creative collaboration?

As I left, the owner snuggled his baby.

The bookstore was quiet and lovely. I thought I really should support the bookstore with more than just a post on my blog. Especially one owned by a family. But I had to be really careful with money, so I poo-pooed that idea.
I snapped a few more pictures. And I heard a still small voice say, “Norma, put your money where your mouth is. Buy a book.”
That’s Higher Power, my heart said.
So I went back to the owner and asked where the writing section was. He directed me around the corner of a bookshelf, and there I saw a little brown book. A Writer’s Paris, by Eric Maisel.
“Thanks a bunch, HP, I’ll never get to Paris. You’re just making me jealous,” I thought. But I took the book off the shelf, opened it, and read a random paragraph.
“If you’re an American writer, you need to go to Paris to write. Go for 1 month, or 3 months. Better yet, go for a year. Paris is one of the more affordable great cities of the world. You can do it! Just go!”
Well, I thought to myself. Am I qualified? Am I a writer? I didn’t have an exceptional track record of being published, not by any means. But I’d persevered for years in a writing apprenticeship. I'd graduated from New York University's creative writing program magna cum laude. It has all been a ton of work. But I'd persevered. For years. Yes, I decided, I certainly could count myself as a writer.
But could I actually go to Paris? And live there?
The idea exploded in my mind. I bought the book.
I would not go as long as my mother needed me, which I hoped would be years.
But when I got home, I Googled “French visa” and was led to the site of the French Consulate in New York City, which serves New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. I studied the documents I’d need, which included a letter from a French sponsor.
I cared for my mother, and while she was resting began to network with people for contacts in France.
I emailed a French pastor in Paris that one of my friends in New Jersey knew of. He told me that he would be willing to write the sponsorship letter, but that he rented an apartment, would be moving soon, and the French government wouldn’t be impressed with him as my sponsor.
“You need someone who owns property in France,” he said.
I tucked that thought away and continued to care for my mother. I wanted her to thrive and enjoy life for as long as possible. She had cared for me as a helpless infant and small child. She had borne with me during the years when I was a rebellious, moody teenager full of scorn for her stupid, old-fashioned, protective ways. I owed her my very life, and I would make hers as enjoyable, comfortable, and fulfilling as I could.
But overnight she declined so steeply that we asked hospice to come in. A few days later she was in bed around the clock. A week after that she was on morphine. She died a few days later.
My siblings, my whole family, were in deep mourning over the rather sudden loss of this extremely adorable and wise little person. The funeral, the burial, all felt distant, unreal, impossible.
While still grieving (and I still miss her daily), I began to help my siblings by organizing and cleaning my mother’s condo to get it ready for sale. In between emptying closets, I returned to my research on being an American writer in Paris.
It seemed like something that would be too good to come true for me. Life had been very tough for a long time. After a heart-wrenching divorce, I’d raised two children alone. I’d worked to support them by holding down jobs in tough corporations in New York City. I’d lost jobs to corporate bullies and to mergers. I’d been hunting for a job for three years already in the non-profit realm without finding one, with all the rejection that entailed. Was something as glorious as Paris possible for me?
I talked to my pastor. “Should I go to Marfa, Texas, or Taos, New Mexico, instead?”
“Emily Dickinson had her Paris—her bedroom,” he answered. Thoreau had Walden Pond. You just need to find your Paris.”
I loved that he was giving me support, and a sense of freedom, to decide.
I decided I’d worked so damn hard for so damn long that I deserved my heart’s desire. I decided Paris was my Paris.
My kids were adults and on their own. My mother didn’t need me anymore, God bless her. No job required me to show up every day. I had the rental income from my house and a small pension. If I was extremely careful with money—not buying coffee in cafes more than once a month—I might make it in Paris for a year.
I just needed a sponsor.
The story continues…come back next week! Or sign up to follow--in the righthand column.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Shove & a Great Landing--Paris! In Search of the American Dream

This Traveling Writer Got a Shove Out the Door!

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

I was mad as hell at the time, but it turned out to be the best thing that could happen.

Here's the first installment in the story (and pics) of how I ended up in Paris on a creative writing sabbatical for one year. I had never dared to dream of such a thing. In fact, I told myself that I would never go to Paris because the Parisians had an attitude I didn't like and I would not bother with them as a result.

Hah! This is a story of how my Higher Power took me beyond my wildest dreams.

It started with the loss of my job due to a merger. I worked like a stevedore on a crowded dock to come up with another one. But it simply did not happen.

I was living in a Cape Cod cottage in New Jersey at the time. I loved that house. More important, it loved me. I felt so good there, especially when sitting on the screened-in porch on a summer's night, reading with a soft white light and bugs bouncing off the screens. It was the one sign of any sort of success in my life. I had a tiny piece of the American Dream.

As my savings dwindled, I realized I would have to do something that it broke my heart to do: rent out my beloved house and go live with my mother.

To be honest, I cursed my HP for not giving me a job so I could stay in the house. I did NOT want to live with my mother. What a sign of earthly failure. To go back to my parent's house at my age really annoyed me. All I needed was a job, but HP didn't bring me one.

I cleaned every nook and cranny of my house--to prepare it for SOMEONE ELSE. I cried a lot and stomped around a lot. It was one of the hardest times of my life. My fiance and I had broken up not long before, my 84-year-old mother wasn't well, and now the one thing I wanted most--to live in my adorable cottage--was slipping away from me. My decades-long search for the American dream felt more thwarted than ever.

I cursed as I packed my "must-haves" into boxes and dragged them out to a big rental van. I drove to my mother's house in Mystic, Connecticut one night and limped to bed, mightily P.O.'d.

I woke up the next morning and felt my mother's love drifting up from her bedroom directly below mine. I said, Thank you, HP, this is exactly where I need to be.

I took care of her in hopes of keeping her going for years more. But after just six weeks there, she suddenly took a turn for much worse. But just before that happened I found a book. To be continued!

Traveling Writer in Search of the American Dream
How did the triple tragedy of losing my fiance, my mother and my house bring me to Paris? Stay tuned! Next week, more of the story.

Traveling Writer in Search of the American Dream
It seemed like every vista in Paris had something beautiful and graceful.

Traveling Writer in Search of the American Dream
I'm especially enamored of the scalloped pattern of the cobbles. Crowds tore these up during the French Revolution and the German occupation to create barricades.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Quirky Stories and Photos While in Search of the American Dream

What Does a Quirky New York City Moment Look Like?

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

If you wanted to boil New York City down to its essence (of course, you can't, but if you wanted to try), this may be the quintessential moment: Dinner. At a top restaurant. At the Museum of Modern Art. Overlooking the famous courtyard with its sculpture garden.

I got to do this recently as part of my job. Whoever said the best things in life are free was so very correct!

As part of a professional networking dinner, we were served by Chef Abram Bissell's kitchen in MoMA. Our tables overlooked the sculpture garden, where twilight was giving everything that lovely blue glow.

In a quirk of fate, I sat next to someone who, in her private life, manages the business side of her husband's writing and publishing. We talked non-stop as the wait-staff did great work whisking plates away and bringing delicious food.

We talked about book marketing, how time consuming and involved it is. She recommended Lisa DeSpain, whom I immediately contacted. After doing due diligence, I officially hired her yesterday! We're going to launch my romantic suspense novel, Why Spy? She'll teach me how to do the digital marketing so that I can do it for the two prequels to the novel I've already written. 

So not only did I get a delicious dinner and professional networking time that night, I also enjoyed a serendipitous meeting of the minds. I got help for the way my digital skills were overwhelmed by the labyrinth of techie things that needed to be done -- and all the techie things I don't even know need to be done. 

So I enjoyed a New York City evening in a great location, with great food, great company, and a great solution to an impossible challenge. 


Thank you, HP!

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
The courtyard at MoMA. The vivid blue rectangles at the top are the twilight sky. I love the quirky black sculpture. Looked up the artist's name but couldn't find it.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Our table.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Dinner. It was delicious!

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
A peek into Chef Bissell's kitchen.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Another glimpse of the sculpture garden. How about you? What free (or extremely inexpensive) things do you enjoy? A cup of coffee at home, for example? A walk in the park? Comment below!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Quirky Story of Working for 30 Years to Make My American Dream Come True

Making My American Dream--A Successful Writing Career--Come True

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

If you like this post, would you Tweet it? Use the social media bar at the bottom of this post. Thanks!

How hard is the journey of a writer?
It’s been extremely difficult—and extremely rewarding.
You need to take your work to a writer’s critique circle. Agents are looking for people who have been through the critique process, the more years of it the better. The writer’s circle hopefully is a supportive environment in which people help each other write better. There are guidelines for critique groups online.
But no matter how much you tell critiquers to find at least two positive things to say about a piece--and if you can't find two things you're not thinking hard enough--people are quirky. They adore the chance to criticize.
It was difficult for me to hear the criticisms. Painful much of the time. Often people are not careful about following critique guidelines--like saying at least two positive things. It can hurt lots when all they say is negative.
But if you’re a writer – and I define that as somebody who exhibits dogged perseverance in getting words on paper – you’ll want to get better. You’ll take each criticism seriously, examine it, accept or reject it according to your instincts, and use most of the criticisms to become a better writer.
It was also difficult to be rejected by literary magazines. I got two things published then nothing--for years. I don’t have a huge “platform” – Google that and get to work on building your own. Without one, agents won’t take your novel on.
It was frustrating to put in a 30-year apprenticeship and not see the results I wanted—fame, fortune, people fawning, the 3 Fs : )
But writing has been highly rewarding too. I’ve gotten to know amazing people in my writers’ circles. I've gotten to know them better as we shared our writing and our unique issues and perspectives came to the fore.
I wrote about the joys and sorrows of critique groups in my novel, The Paris Writers Circle (see the top of the right navigation column).
In it, I poke fun at the critiquers I've experienced. I laugh at the pain. I try to help writers see how--sometimes years later--you can use the junk in your life to make jokes for people to enjoy.
Writing has helped me sort through my bizarre baggage and use some of the anguishing or odd circumstances of my life as material in stories. This helps me to connect with readers.
Writing keeps me company when I’m alone and also connects me with other people better than not writing does.
For example, writing took me on a bus to circumnavigate the United States. I stayed in 20 cities over seven weeks. I’m working on the memoir about it. You can see quirky stories and pics from that trip if you go to 2011 in the right-hand navigation column.
Writing took me to New York University. I graduated magna cum laude not too long ago with a B.A. in creative writing and literature.
Writing took me on a creative writing sabbatical in Paris for one year. It took me to Barcelona to live for three months.
Writing makes me more alive as I seek, in Henry James’s words, to be someone on whom nothing is lost.
So it’s a hard journey but worth it.
Now for quirky photos. These are from a photography group that taught me to "glance" with my camera (my phone). You just walk along and take photos without putting the camera to your eye. You walk and shoot. People get caught on film not posing. I've put my favorites out of 50 photos here. Next week more. A few are a bit bizarre, but fun:

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
For one second this patch of Times Square looked deserted.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Times Square -- everybody's in motion.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Flowers as architecture.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Downtown and Brooklyn -- my direction home.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Snacks everywhere

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Playing to the door, not the crowd. Maybe he got reverberation from the recessed entryway.

Quirky stories and photos while in search of the American Dream
Caricatures for sale. How about you? Do you like NYC? Times Square in particular? Comment below!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

American Dream Come True: A Fab Wedding in Quirky Setting

Quirky Stories: A Wedding Overlooking a Green Pond

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

As a Brooklyn writer who craves greenery, I do my writing in Prospect Park from late April to early October, weather permitting. 

I sit under a tall quirky tree whose branches sweep downward. Its needles are blue. Never saw anything like it. I call it a weeping blue spruce.  

My father loved blue spruce trees more than any other tree. The year before he died, his kids gave him a dwarf Alberta blue spruce that was six-feet tall and as round as a butterball, We called it Fat Albert. 

After his house was sold, I went by it again. Fat Albert is gone, just like the man who loved him.

So I sit under a weeping blue spruce in Prospect Park, near the odd sparrow hotel I photographed for you here, and write what I have to write.

When I’m stiff and sore, I take a break to walk the park. Today there’s a saxophonist under the bridge, taking advantage of the acoustics. That’s what I do as a writer: go for resonance.

A few weeks ago I went under the bridge – no saxophone, just a small child on his father’s shoulders shouting “No!” and listening to his echo.

Just beyond, people picnicked on one side of the path while a bride and groom had their photos taken a few feet away. People are always less than a few feet away in New York City. Every patch of sidewalk is contested. The crowding oppresses me.

But there are upsides. Like Prospect Park. I walk here almost every day. I’m getting to know its quirks and secrets. 

I now know where to sit to hear red-winged blackbirds trill their summer song. I know where to go to watch turtles sun themselves or to swim lazily by the lake’s edge.

The bride and groom weren’t wandering around looking for idiosyncratic wildlife in the midst of a jam-packed city. No, they were looking forward to sitting on the terrace of The Boathouse and celebrating their happy day. Much of Brooklyn was looking on. That wouldn't be my style, but to each his own.

Quirky stories and photos
Picnickers on one side of the path...

Quirky stories and photos
...and wedding photography on the other.

Quirky stories and photos
The Boathouse set up nearby for an outdoor wedding.

Quirky stories and photos
The view of the waterfall, which you can see from The Boathouse terrace.

Quirky stories and photos
Another lovely feature of the park: the steps at Harry's Wall. How about you: going to the park today? Comment below! If you like this post, would you Tweet it? See the icons immediately below this post. Thank you!