Melissa at The Lil Bee is one of our favorites. Pretty much our love for her can be summed up from a quote we stole from her blog; "she don't believe in shooting stars but she believes in shoes and cars." Amen sister. Of course, it doesn't help that she's a sassy New Yorker, dog lover, mom and fashionista. So without further ado here's her Central Park memory.

When we lived in New York City, nothing made me happier than our early morning walks to Central Park. Dogs are allowed to run free in the park until 9am daily, and so off-the-leash time became a part of our weekend routine. We’d wake up on Saturday mornings, throw on our sweats, and head out the door by 7. The city is quiet at that time, somehow more 13 and a half miles small than 9 million people big. It is your own little island.

We’d walk first to the coffee cart on the corner—one light and sweet, one black—and then straight across 75th Street to Central Park. It was a short walk, maybe ten minutes long, but the anticipation was tangible in our dogs’ leashes—they knew where we were going and would pull as hard as they could to get us there quickly. And then, as we’d cross into the park and onto that first patch of green, we’d unhook the leashes and watch our dogs fly across the lawn to meet the crowd. There’d be a dozen or so other dogs and a medley of Frisbees and tennis balls and sticks and bones. It was an indescribable happiness.

Because this small grouping of people, with their dogs and their newspapers and their coffees light and sweet, was here not just for the day but rather a lifetime, this area of Central Park became our collective backyard, somehow more like twelve people across than 50+ blocks high. We knew each other by face and sometimes by name, and we’d chat about our dogs, the weekend bike race or 5k, the headlines on the Post. New York’s unspoken rule of speaking only when spoken to did not apply.

When it was time to leave, we’d head back home, taking the longer route through the park… up along the paved paths, through the tunnel where the saxophonist huddled down for warmth and spare change, around the pond where the bird watchers sat with stale bagels and binoculars, and up the hill where the runners would stop to catch their breath.

We’d pass by The Whitney and The Carlyle, Madison Avenue and the brunch at Orsay, New York institutions that marked our journey home like breadcrumbs to Gretel. If I did nothing else for the rest of the day, I’d still feel accomplished and alive for having soaked in that electrical feeling that only Central Park can give. It’s been over a year now since I called New York City home, but I’m forever grateful for the memories I have on that loved up patch of green, our own little private backyard.

Our new Central Park line may not be the perfect thing to wear taking your dog to the park but we're pretty sure that they may be nearly as effective as off-leash dog time at helping you break the "don't speak unless spoken too" rule and that you'll be sure to find those places where suddenly a big space feels just like home.


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