The Perfect Escape – by Kate Zeligson

When I finished my tour, which took me from Union Square to Madison Square, I did not leave; rather, I found myself moseying around the park.  I mindlessly walked around and around, taking in the beauty of the natural surroundings.  The park was full of people like me, relaxing and letting their minds wander wherever they so pleased, which resulted in an all-encompassing low-key and serene ambiance.  If I had to guess, I would’ve assumed I had been there for 20 minutes or so, but when I looked at my watch it had been a little over an hour.  I then took a seat on one of the benches in the shade and read some of my Jodi Picoult book (on my Kindle…I highly recommend those as well).  Before I knew it I had read over 100 pages and finished my book!  I did not realize how badly I needed to escape from the high maintenance, fast-paced city life until I unwittingly did just that.  Madison Square Park was also a nice change from Washington Square Park or even Union Square Park since it was much less crowded.
Another added perk is the Shake Shack, which has some of the best hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes in the world.  They even serve wine, which is a relatively recent addition.  The architecture of the Shake Shack is very fitting for the park — it blends in with the environment and is very aesthetically pleasing.  Because of its popularity, I would recommend going during off-hours, maybe around three o’clock on a weekday.  The wait in line tends to be at least an hour long on weekends or right after work, especially if it’s nice out, which was the case when I was there.  I did not have the patience to wait that long, but I actually have plans to go back tomorrow after class in hopes that the wait will be bearable.  They conveniently have a live camera feed (the “Shack Cam”) on their website so you can see how long the line is at all times.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, grab the perfect hamburger, have a glass of wine in the park, or escape time, Madison Square Park is the place to go.


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