I finally made my way over to the Shake Shack. What a fantastic addition to Madison Square Park.
When we first moved to NYC we lived at 28th and Madison. The neighborhood was really horrible. Crawling with prositutes all night long. Flea bag hotels that the city kept a variety of low-life residents in. But, it was cheap and we knew nothing.
In the evening we'd walk down to the village for coffee, dinner, drinks or whatever. En route, we'd walk around Madison Square Park. It was littered with garbage, homeless and drug addicts. Do not enter after dark was your best bet.
Years passed and Danny Meyer approached us about giving money to the rebuilding of Madison Square Park. We felt connected to the park and loved the idea. They were raising money for the park and creating an endowment that would be able to pay for the maintenance, gardeners etc. over the years. Pretty smart. Also, they were going to bring the park back to the original size and look from the turn of the century. We bought in and gave with the first group of donors.
Being in Madison Square Park now is a joy. There is a new found life to Madison Square Park. Eating at the Shake Shack is an added bonus. The burgers and dogs are good, the fries are crispy and the custard is out of this world but the best part is the atmosphere. Sitting in the park makes me feel as if I am in Paris. The fountain is running, the trees are green, the flowers are in bloom. There is also a sculpture garden that is rotated with new art.
I feel proud to be part of the original group of donors. To see what they have been able to do is incredibly satisfying. It is so NY, always rebuilding and making better.
The idea is catching on. We are going to a benefit in Washington Square Park next Monday to hopefully do the same thing. Brilliant!