by Jessica Dailey
The New York City Parks Department’s takes green-starved city dwellers on outdoor adventures for free through its Urban Park Rangers program. All you have to do is register online, and hope you get selected via the random lottery. I tried my luck and got chosen for not one, but two excursions. First up: a trip to the northernmost tip of Manhattan to camp in Inwood Hill Park.
6:51 p.m.: Thanks to the MTA, I’m nearly an hour late, so I’m feeling like a pretty big jerk, even though Sergeant Sunny Carro, the leader of this camping expedition, assured me it was okay. I meet up with M., my (somewhat reluctant, but generally positive) outdoor adventure companion, outside Inwood Hill Park, and we head in, looking for the group. The sun is going down, and the park looks lovely. We enter on West 218th Street near where the Harlem River meets Spuyten Duyvil Creek. The Big C Rock stands across the water. The Parks Department bills this activity as “Family Camping” and everything that’s been written about it is about how awesome it is for family bonding. Since we’re a young, childless couple, we’re a tad nervous that the group is going to be all breeders and babies, and we’ll be the weird young childless couple.