Spring has come and gone. The days of Summer are finally upon us. And that all too familiar feeling has crept into our bones: an overwhelming desire to be outdoors or, perhaps, just anywhere else on God’s green earth other than an office prison. Even businesses get it. They’ve increasingly come to accept the inevitable. Employees are going to become restless and unfocused. Productivity is going to slide. So why fight it? Someone–clearly a genius–decided the best use of that time was as a way of boosting morale. And that thinking is exactly what lead to the adult world finally being permitted to do the unthinkable: take recess. They called it Summer Fridays.
So now that the playground is open a little earlier than usual, the question is: what should you do with your head start? We recently wrote about why you should visit Asbury Park, New Jersey. And certainly that’s a great option to kick off your Summer Fridays. But it was only the first post in our summer series outlining day trips in close proximity to New York City. This post is a continuation of that series and offers yet another option to fill your newly extended weekends: Storm King Art Center.
Storm King is an awe-inspiring, world-renowned sculpture park located on an immense 500-acre parcel of land with verdant, rolling meadows and dense woodlands. It’s located a brief hour and fifteen minute drive north of Manhattan in the town of Cornwall, NY. For the longest time, it was known chiefly as a fall foliage destination. But as it has grown in renown, so has its popularity and the sculpture park now boasts a healthy year-round attendance. Storm King is almost impossible to see in a day, so we believe a summer visit will be the perfect complement to a later fall foliage visit.
What makes Storm King unique is the scale at which it joins the innate beauty of two distinct yet interrelated realms: art and nature. Scattered throughout the park, visitors discover an incredible array of large scale structures as well as integrated, site-specific earthworks. Gone are the practical limitation an artist suffers in a traditional artistic venture. Gone are the pretense and distance imposed on visitors by the museum security staff and vault-like glass enclosures. Storm King invites the artist to create with the ambition only afforded nature, and it asks you, the visitor, to commune with both realms together, at times indecipherable from each other, directly.
Whether you are the type of person who becomes a member at the Met, an amateur ornithologist, or just a weekend hiking enthusiast, you’ll find a lot to love at Storm King. Amble along the network of paved trails, breathe in some fresh air, and let your mind wander. Summer is finally here.
Here is some helpful information for your visit:
— Make sure to check out current and upcoming short-term exhibitions here.
— Climbing on or touching the sculptures is prohibited, save those explicitly stating otherwise.
— Pets are prohibited, so you’ll have to leave your fur babies at home for this one.
— Drones are prohibited.
— Picnicking, including spreading blankets, is allowed in designated areas.
— On-site bike rentals are available.
— The park is handicapped accessible, including the trams that visit 10 designated stops throughout the park.
— Daily tours and a range of family and music events run throughout the season.
If you’re driving to Storm King from New York City, we highly recommend taking the Palisade Interstate Parkway. The scenic route features unique flora and fauna, as well as beautiful overlooks and overpasses, and as such has been designated as a national landmark by the National Park Service. You’ll be tempted to make a few stops on the way.
However, if you don’t have access to a car, Storm King is easily accessible by way of the Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line. You’ll depart from Grand Central Station and disembark at the Beacon Station. From there, you can either take the Storm King shuttle service (available on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays starting in May with advance purchase), drive a Zipcar (requires advance reservation), or hire a ride sharing service or taxi.
Pro Tip: There is a Metro-North Getaway Package that discounts the cost of the rail ticket and Storm King Admission when purchased together. Package tickets can be purchased from a ticket office or a full-service Metro-North vending machine.
And what about food?
There are restaurants in the surrounding area, and the park itself has a food truck and a cafe at your disposal. But we’d like to offer an alternative option. There’s a tried-and-true summer tradition, and it’s called a picnic. In other words, we think you should build your own feast! As noted above, there are a couple of designated picnic areas at Storm King. Why not shake off that colorful blanket and pack a cooler and/or a basket ahead of time and make use of them? Here’s where we recommend picking up your supplies:
Union Square Greenmarket
If you catch our weekend roundups on Instagram Stories, you know that the Union Square Greenmarket is a regular haunt of ours. It’s open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, so a quick visit will provide you with everything you need for the ultimate picnic. Chefs from nearby eateries procure many of their ingredients here, so you need not question the quality of goods. The farmers will happily assist you with picking a tomato that is ready-to-eat, or one that will be perfectly ripe for your trek the following day. You can find freshly baked baguettes, small batch potato chips and popcorn, homemade jams, cheeses and more. You’ll be able to build a gourmet meal AND stock your tote bag with enough snacks for the ride.
A few of our other favorite establishments in the city to gather provisions for your picnic include Murray’s Cheese, Eataly and Le District. Fresh breads and cheeses are a given, but each spot also offers the option to fill your picnic basket with an impressive array of prepared foods.
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– L. & J.