Tag Archives: walks

Chalk Art

Spring has been far too slow in coming.  Winter coats are beginning to look drab and the folks wearing them look weary.  So it’s no surprise that going out for a walk today wasn’t something I was expecting to be terribly uplifting.  That is, until I ran into the Chalk Art man.

“Art is beautiful.  It makes you happy”    Honschar, the NYC Chalk Artist                                                                                  

So when I came upon this artist, hard at work lighting up an otherwise gray and dreary sidewalk with cheerful messages of birthday greetings and custom crafted salutes to brothers and sisters, I had to stop.

City Chalk Artists

Chalk Art!

He was happily calling upon the growing crowd to be good to their moms and dads.  Encouraging children to be good.  Reminding adults to “call your mother”.  Who doesn’t find that chant delightful and valuable?

Reminder to call

Call to action!

We spoke and I told him I’d like to include him in my blog, would he mind?  He seemed thrilled and then graciously offered to create a bit of street chalk art for me.  Here it is!  I just loved his enthusiasm and I told him with gratitude how much joy he brings to others.



Honschar The Chalk Artist

Unexpected things happen when you push yourself to explore and engage when you see something inspirational.  I’m so happy I decided to speak to this talented and generous sidewalk chalk artist today.

Celebrating Chalk Art

Art to make you happy!

And that’s a great and unexpected “A Table for One” adventure!

Copyright 2018 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved

March Winds

It’s been a cold, damp and windy March in the northeast this year.  When it’s damp like this, it’s literally bone chilling.  Most folks want to hunker down inside and spend the night watching TV, cooking and maybe even retiring early.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles before I sleep.  Robert Frost

I take inspiration from poets who incorporate nature into their metaphors.  On a recent bitter cold March night, I fought the weather and ventured out on a late evening walk to the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir in Central Park in New York City.

March winter winds

March winds in the Park

I have a great winter coat that’s literally the size of the Michelin tire character.  It’s ridiculous, but perfect for this kind of adventure.  It makes you impervious to cold, with its head to toe embrace of warmth!   I’ve made it a habit to explore things on the coldest days of winter in the northeast, for just this reason.  Once, I spent an afternoon alone at The Bronx Zoo, walking through the nearly empty park.  It was fantastic.  I had a front row seat to the few animals that could wander out in the cold.  This walk the other evening reminded me of that.

Central Park runners track

The runners are hunkering down at home on a bitter cold night!

There is definitely no other time of day, other than very much pre-dawn hours, that the running track at the reservoir is empty!  It’s quite a sight to see and one that I couldn’t resist venturing out to explore on my own.  Besides, who else would want to join me on a night like this one?

The Dakotas and reservoir on a cold night

The Dakotas standing tall on a cold winter’s night at the Reservoir

Standing on the abandoned runners’ track…looking west across the water, to NYC’s Dakotas towers, with the dark, dark backdrop of the sky.  What could be more beautiful?  Bundled up, heavy socks, layers of sweaters, a warm scarf, hat, gloves, wool socks and boots.  Sounds like Switzerland in the winter!  But what a great way to spend one of the coldest evenings of winter, out in the elements and treating myself to a great moment for “A Table For One”!

Copyright 2017 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved







Go To The Beach!

Why not treat yourself to a day at the beach alone?  Beach days shared with good friends and family are wonderful.  But it’s easy to forget how enjoyable a beach day can be, even when you’re on your own.  Give yourself the chance to connect with your soul and take a rest from the formal activities that fill most of your days.  Go!

“I have the world’s largest collection of seashells.  I keep it on all the beaches of the world…perhaps you’ve seen it.”  Steven Wright

Going solo to the beach is a miraculous experience.  A day well spent on the beach, can be filled with wonder, relaxation and discovery.  It’s like a week of vacation when you’re out there on your own!  Unplug.  Leave your devices at home.


Toes in the sand!

The first step is to go early, before the hot afternoon sun bakes down, creating a fiery, scorching bed of sand against your bare feet.  Drop the sandals, opt for a really great foot scrub of sand and shells and just feel the sand in your toes.  Feet feel happy, when freed up and let loose.  And one of the only places left where bare feet can still happen safely, is on a beach!

Choose your spot!

Choose your sweet spot!

Next, carve out a spot that’s yours.  Claim your space and set yourself up with a beach chair and umbrella, big towels, a floppy hat,  great book, a sandwich, fruit and a large bottle of ice cold water to last the day.  Plan to spend your time slipping the day well into a late afternoon of total rest and relaxation.  Listen closely to the sound of waves crashing on the shore.  Bring along a notebook and pen, to write your thoughts.  No devices here.

Take a swim as frequently as possible.  Enjoy drying off by taking a nice walk along the shore.  Pick up a few shells and colorful rocks to display on a shelf when you get home.  It will help to remind you how delicious a day at the beach alone can be.  Next time you find yourself with a free day in spring, summer or fall, consider gifting yourself with the super indulgence of a beautiful day at the beach!  That’s A Table For One!

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved.



Library Walk

I was walking yesterday in New York along a very familiar street in midtown.  For some reason, I looked down, as well as up and discovered something entirely new.  The street I was walking along had been named “Library Way”.  I’ve walked these blocks in New York so many times, but never noticed this delightful tribute to the iconic New York Public Library.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

Library Way

Library Way

I know it’s not just me.  It seems many of us are always in a rush, coming and going.  When you’re out and about on your own, no matter where it is, you have a great opportunity to take the time and really look at your surroundings.  Try to notice things that have always been there “hiding plain sight”.  You may amaze yourself, as I sometimes do, as to what you see.

Library Walk

Sidewalk Inspirations

In addition to the street signs, looking up, I discovered an entire series of amazing and inspirational sidewalk plaques lining “Library Way” starting on 41st St. and Park Avenue, all the way over to Fifth Avenue.  You could easily spend a good 1/2 hour or more meandering down this “Library Way”, reading each of the plaques that honor great authors of many centuries.

Great description of Life!

Wonderful thoughts along the “Library Way”

Of course, this wonderful pathway leads to the iconic mid-town New York City Library itself.  An architectural beauty with rich history and a bountiful offering of treasured books for the reading.

Library Way

Beautiful New York Public Library

Love this fascinating transformation of an ordinary NYC sidewalk into a magical pathway leading to an NYC landmark.  And to think it’s been there all this time unnoticed by me as I rush from one meeting to another.  I’m so happy I took the time to look up and look down!  I’m going to do this more often now.  And I hope you do too!   That’s “A Table For One” delight!

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved






New Year Lights

This year, I stayed in New York for New Year’s Eve.  I’ve visited lots of different places on New Years, hosted wonderful dinner parties on Nantucket and rung in most “new” with great friends.

“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, It will be happier.”                     Alfred Lord Tennyson

I love the start of a new year.  And celebrating at home means cooking the best recipes of the year, serving the best champagne I can find and watching the famous ball drop in Times Square.    I never tire of the midnight toasts and warm embraces of loved ones and friends.

But, like most holidays, I love to extend the celebration and make it last as long as possible.  In New York City, that’s easy.  In the days following New Year’s, a walk through the city at night presents a perfect opportunity to continue the holiday, by observing the beautiful street lights.

New York Street Lights

Holiday Street Lights in New York

Taking an evening stroll through the city, brightens the early-dark-nights of the New Year.   I always make a point of exploring the side streets and avenues without a specific plan.  I love all kinds of walks, but the purpose of this one is simply to wander and observe.

Park Avenue Lights

Park Avenue’s Holiday Light Displays

It can be very rejuvenating to begin the new year by observing all of the beauty around you, no matter where you are.  Extend the bright hopes of a new year beyond the traditional New Year’s eve midnight celebrations!

New York City Lights

Colorful City Lights NYC

Open your heart and mind to the hope that the year ahead will be filled with joy and the anticipation of all things possible.  And be sure to use any time on your own to explore, wander and enjoy every moment with all of your senses recharged!  That’s what starts a New Year right at “A Table For One.”

Copyright 2016 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved




Christmas and Trees

One of the most wonderful things about December is the number of Christmas trees that spring up everywhere.  I love Christmas and I love the proliferation of trees!

“I know that a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania is about the most random place for a country singer to come from, but I had an awesome childhood.”  Taylor Swift

I can totally identify with Taylor Swift’s description of an awesome childhood, having grown up on a Christmas tree farm.  It sounds like a dream come true!

Lots of decorations

Trees line the streets!

Christmas tree shopping was a ritual in my home growing up.  My Dad would pile us all into the trusty woodie wagon and we’d all head out to pick one out as a family, which was never easy!  The catch, however, was that my father loved to buy “live” trees that could be planted after Christmas.  This made it extra special, because you could see each Christmas tree permanently growing on our property.  It was a unique and truly memorable way to celebrate.

The tree is always the highlight at Christmas!

The tree is always the highlight at Christmas!

That may be why I became enthralled with Christmas trees from childhood, onward.  When I moved into New York to my first apartment, a small studio walk-up, I made a pledge to buy a Christmas tree every year, despite the tiny size of my apartment.   Living on a shoestring meant that I had to start with a very small tree.   I promised myself to buy a bigger one each year, until I could afford a big one, in the 6 foot + range.  And that’s exactly what I did!

Tree in my building in NYC!

Tree in my building in NYC!

Now, I live in a building in NYC that celebrates Christmas with a giant tree that delights all of us.  I still buy my own tree, but the ones they display surpass any height of an indoor tree that I’ve seen.  It’s just delightful to come home to it every evening during December.  We also have evenings with music and champagne!  It always inspires me to go out and take notice of all the trees in the city and wherever I go, during December.

It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas coming with “A Table For One!”

Copyright 2015 Marion M. O’Grady


Art Inside Out

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a New York icon.  It beckons visitors from all over the world with complex, diverse collections of art and breathtaking one of a kind exhibits.  For me, it’s also a prominent presence in my neighborhood.  And there’s as much to see outside as there is to see inside The Met!

“Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment.”  Claude Monet

I love visiting museums when traveling and I’ve been lucky enough to visit so many, both here in the U.S. and overseas.  One thing I find intriguing and sometimes also striking, is the exterior of museums.  The setting.  The building itself.  How it sits where it is.

The Met Offers Inspiration in Color Inside and Out!

The Met Offers Inspiration in Color Inside and Out!

On this particular fall day, the exterior of The Metropolitan Museum of Art was ablaze with a full range of autumnal fire-like colors.   The walls of glass reflected both sky and neighboring buildings in a perfectly arranged display.

Explore every angle of the museums you visit!

Explore every angle of the museums you visit!

I like to take a walk around the exterior of the museums I visit, in order to understand and appreciate the eye of the architect/s who designed the buildings.  To imagine how they were inspired to create and choose every detail of the structure.  Architects are also artists in their own right.

Nature's colorful bounty reflected as art

Nature’s colorful bounty reflected as art

On this beautiful day, the colors of autumn bounce in the reflection of The Met’s glassed walls.  The dappled light dances off the cement walls and inspires an unusual sense of life and anticipation of things to come. I think it’s a great idea, when you’re out and about for a museum visit on your own, to be sure to explore nature’s art and how the architect’s eye worked to create the building itself.  If you do, it may even give you better insight into the art collections inside.  And if you have a neighborhood museum nearby, be sure to observe how the changing seasons enhance the structure.  Embrace the moment.  “A Table For One.”

Copyright 2015 Marion M. O’Grady  All rights reserved.

Day of the Month

This year has been so beautiful in the Northeast.  Very unusual, long stretches of balmy weather, blue skies, sunlit days.  The Northeast is normally filled with unpredictable weather, ranging from cold snaps, to fog, rainy days and occasional blue skies.

“Climate is what we expect.  Weather is what we get.”  Mark Twain

In my mind, the best days are sometimes “good weather” days.  Especially if the  weather in a given month is unusual.  I’ve decided to chose a “Day of the Month” every month.  It’s another way to make yourself aware of the delight that each day brings.  Something to look forward to, make note of and celebrate.

Day of the Month November

Look for the magical beauty of nature and light.

This month, November, I thought that “The Day” had already arrived on November 3rd. On a long walk through Central Park,  I couldn’t help noticing how the autumn sunlight burst through the trees, amping up the contrasting colors of the landscape.

Such an unusual November!

Such an unusual November!

On this particular day, I thought that the magical transition of seasons was so clearly evident.  The floor of the gardens were covered with fallen leaves, while newly blossomed autumn plants and flowers were peeking through.  The combination was startling and beautiful.

Summer passes the baton to Autumn as the seasons change

Summer passes the baton to Autumn as the seasons change

I find that the complexity of nature reflects the complexity of our lives and can be very reflective of our emotions too.  It’s easy to lose yourself in the beauty of your surroundings, if you simply surrender to it.  On this day, I fully enjoyed the wide range of thoughts and feelings, reflective of the landscapes.

The day mixed together a summer temperature of 72, the blazing reds and yellows of tumbling autumn leaves and the bittersweet reminder that winter will soon arrive.  Yet, the promise of spring was also present in the newly blooming plants poking through.  A truly perfect day.  Perhaps the best “Day of the Month” for November.  Well noted and captured in thought and memory for “A Table For One.”

Copyright 2015 Marion M. O’Grady

All rights reserved.









Day Trippin’

I think that day trips are highly underrated.  While we spend hours planning for major getaways,  we frequently overlook the fun that can be had from just spontaneously hopping in a car, taking a train ride or even a bus to a nearby location for the day.  Taking a break from your own routine surroundings, even if just for a few hours, can rejuvenate and reenergize your perspective.

“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see.”  John Burroughs

I have found that there are an infinite variety of things to do when you’re on your own.  Breaking out of the scenery you live in is always invigorating.  It gives you a different way to see your everyday environment.  When you return, after exploring a totally different landscape, you feel that you’ve been far away, even if you’ve just gone an hour or so away from home base.

Break away for a spontaneous adventure, somewhere nearby!

Break away for a spontaneous adventure, somewhere nearby!

The town of Greenwich, Ct. is not far from Manhattan.  I grew up in Rye, N.Y. and attended elementary and high school in Greenwich, so it too is very familiar territory.  Greenwich is a great choice for a day trip from New York City.  Nestled in the northern end of Greenwich, there are acres and acres of meadows, lines of old stone walls meandering up and down hills, trees as old as those hills and a plethora of expansive fields to explore.  And there, you will find the Audubon Center…an absolute treasure, so near and yet so far from the intenseness of city life.

The Audubon Center nestled in the northern corner of Greenwich, Ct.

The Audubon Center nestled in the northern corner of Greenwich, Ct.

The Audubon Center of Greenwich is a nature center comprised of over 200 acres of land and offers 7 miles of trails to walk.  Who would suspect that such a rich resource as this would be so close to the city of New York?  The beautiful welcome center has a gift shop, lots of reading materials, rooms for their regular talks and the people are lovely.  Here is where you can rest after a long walk, sit on their back deck overlooking the property and enjoy the spectacular view.

The Audubon Center of Greenwich, Ct.

The Audubon Center of Greenwich, Ct.

Pack up your favorite sandwich, snacks and bottled water for a picnic.  Don’t forget your sunscreen, a hat and be sure to wear good walking shoes.  This is a day trip made to order.  The trails are long and complex enough to make it a return-to favorite.  For me, the complete contrast from the concrete pathways of the city is a welcome relief.  Open sky, earthy terrain,  beautiful flora, fauna and birds…what a magnificent way to spend a day!  It would be great to go with a friend too.  But this is a perfect day trip just for you!  Revel in the freedom of a very special adventure on your own.

Create your own backyard habitat!

Create your own backyard habitat!

The Audubon Center also offers great ideas on how to create your own backyard habitat.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  These are great ideas from the best experts.  Since the Center also offers interesting talks and tours, this will be something to consider doing for another “A Table For One” experience.  Try not to waste any time, if you find yourself alone, set out on a day trip! You’ll find it’s one of the best ways to enjoy “being” on your own!

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady

All rights reserved

Look Up

Sometimes, being alone can leave you wondering how to change a melancholy mood on your own.  It’s much easier when you’re with friends and loved ones, to lean on them for some help and encouragement to pull you up, into a more upbeat mood.

Sky over Manhattan

Sky over Manhattan

“I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings”                      Gustave Flaubert

I love horseback riding and pursued it as a favorite sport for a very long time.  I loved jumping and practiced three times a week, hoping one day to vacation in Ireland on a horseback riding trek.  One of the techniques that I found very difficult to master was to look up, rather than down, as I approached a fence or wall to jump over.   Keeping my head up would help develop my skills enormously and improve my performance.  It was challenging.

Sky's no limit!

Sky’s no limit!

So I kept working hard, by going over and over the approach in my head.  I visualized “looking up”, when I wasn’t actually riding.  I think it was also a matter of trust.  I knew that I was too much in charge and I wasn’t completely allowing my horse to play his own part in the jump.  It’s a team effort.  There’s an inexplicable moment when you have to transition and let go.  That’s the looking up part.

When I finally mastered the art of “looking up” in the sport of jumping, it was a huge breakthrough!  It made all the difference in the world.  It was noticeable and I moved quickly, as a result, to a highly advanced level.

You see all sorts of new things when you look up

You see all sorts of new things when you look up

I often think of this exercise when I’m feeling a bit blue on my own.  If you look up, it’s amazing what happens.  We’re all so buried in devices, hunched over, walking intensely and not paying any attention to what’s around us.  We all spend a lot of time looking down.  Looking up is such a great discipline.  We have to be reminded of it.  And it’s amazing what happens!

Remind yourself to look up, find the sky if you’re feeling blue.

The sky is a natural draw at sunrise, sunset and on a dark night when filled with stars and moonlight.  But the sky that graces the day can also be an uplifting and fascinating sight.  It’s constantly changing.  It’s a great reminder that things keep moving.

Try looking up at it, anytime and see what you find.  I call it “skyscaping”.  Look beyond the obstacles and find the highest point.  And then go for it!  Your mood will change almost immediately.  And that’s “A Table For One” great moment.

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady

All rights reserved