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While my main purpose for starting this blog was to create a space where I could write about all the books that I’ve read, as a twenty-something living in New York City, there are so many other wonderful things to write about. Today, I’ve chosen to veer off my beaten path for a bit.

As part of my New Year’s resolution this year, in addition to the standard exercise more, eat better blah blah blah bull, I told myself that I wanted to be more cultured.  New York City has so many amazing things to offer the people who live here and I really should be taking advantage of it.  However, with most resolutions, I found that reality hasn’t lived up to my ideals and yet, I haven’t been a complete waste of life at the same time.  Yesterday, a good friend asked if I had plans for the night and said that the New York Philharmonic was playing a concert on the Great Lawn in Central Park.  I gladly accepted her invitation to venture over and enjoy what would be a great evening of music outdoors.

The Philharmonic performing on the Great Lawn

The music itself was wonderful, although I can’t say I expected anything less.  The New York Philharmonic is absolutely fabulous.  At work, the radio is always tuned to the classical music station where I’ve heard a number of their performances, as well as the few times I’ve checked out their performances online.  I’ve also had the great luck to (very briefly) meet Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic’s conductor, and I respect it that much more considering what a nice person he seems to be.

The co-star of the evening to the Philharmonic was really Central Park itself.  I have the great fortune to work practically across the street from this New York City staple and often times on my lunch break, I’ll take a stroll in the park.  Each and every time, I’m always in awe of how beautiful an area it is; it really is a little (actually not so little) oasis in the middle of one of the biggest cities in the world.  At the concert I was talking to my friend about what it must cost to put on such a

Ah yes, I’ll rent the Great Lawn for my next shindig, no big deal (photo compliments of http://www.centralparknyc.org/)

show on the Great Lawn, everything from clean-up to printing programs, setting up the stage to coordinating the sound systems, when she mentioned that the cost alone to RENT the Great Lawn is a cool million dollars.  That’s right: 1 and 6 zeros. Guess I won’t be having any of my parties on the Great Lawn anytime soon.  Anyway, I’m assuming the Philharmonic wasn’t charged this as they were putting on this concert in conjunction with Central Park, but a fun little fact regardless.  But getting back to my point, being able to experience a concert of such magnitude in this beautiful outdoor space for free is pretty freakin cool if you ask me. Oh, and I neglected to mention before that this was one of two nights this concert took place in the Park!  I actually saw the second concert, as one took place the Friday before as well.

The best pictures of the fireworks my iPhone could manage

As if the night wasn’t already a neat experience, following the concert was a fireworks display.  Everything was organized so well that the concert lasted until about 10:05, the fireworks went off soon after, and I walked back to my apartment to get into bed for a still relatively early evening (I’m a bit of an old lady on the weekdays for only being 24).

I really hope to enjoy this experience next year, while taking into consideration a few lessons I’ve learned from my time last night. These lessons are:

  1. Get there early.  An obvious lesson, however my friend and I were unsure of the situation and we got to the park right around 8 p.m. After arriving, we scoped out the area (there were three of us: myself, my friend and her boyfriend) and parked ourselves under a tree where unfortunately the view wasn’t incredible but you could still hear the music well.  Next year I’d really love to get up closer to feel more a part of the experience.
  2. Bring a spread.  The three of us had eaten dinner before venturing to Great Lawn, however the best idea is to bring your favorite picnic spread early and enjoy a nice meal outside.  I saw one particular group I wanted to befriend that had brought along a rotisserie chicken, a few bottles of red wine, and what appeared to be an extensive cheese spread (I’m a sucker for a good cheese spread).
  3. Bring bug spray. “Baxter” seems to be a delicacy to mosquitoes and I’m paying the price of not dousing myself in Off by scratching all through my workday.

If you’d like to see more pictures from the Concert in the Park series or just learn more about the New York Philharmonic in general, you can go here http://nyphil.org/.  And please share if you have any suggestions for fun activities here in the city!

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