how to: pack for the park

park day essentials
New Yorkers have a little secret when it comes to spending the day in one of the many parks the city has to offer. The secret is that we're master packers. We don't lug huge wagons full of coolers or wrangle giant wicker picnic baskets (although if we did, I'd get this pretty one.). The emphasis is on packing the park essentials into one bag so that you can easily go from subway to park to errands to rooftop drinks. No bulky blankets here; the ultimate New Yorker knows that a bed sheet is the best picnic blanket - light to carry, easy to wash, and you can buy a single flat sheet for cheap! Here are some of the other essentials we pack when we spend a day at the park.

Tote  It's got to be large enough to hold your supplies, but pretty enough to travel around the city with you. Rainbow chevron seems to do the trick nicely (rats, it's now sold out at J.Crew. This striped one is a nice alternative.)

Blanket  A flat bed sheet (preference for polka dots) is your best friend here. Large enough to seat several adults and dogs. And thin enough to fold up into a tight little square and toss in your tote.

Reading Material  On my list for this summer: endless back issues of Cooking Light that my mom brought me, the new Porter magazine, and Molly Wizenberg's new book.

Tunes  This iphone speaker is made of silicone so you don't have to worry about breaking it. No batteries required.

Water Supply  For humans (with an insert you can freeze to keep your water cool!). And for pooches (folds up flat!).

Dog Tether  We just ordered this easy screw in tether for Lily. Now we don't have to hold on to her leash while we picnic, but she's still safe and secure near our spot.

Sun Protection  Ain't no wrinkles on this face! This is the only sunscreen I like. It doesn't feel greasy and goes on evenly. And it's quick, which means less embarrassment for Al when I spray it all over his face. ☺

Eye Protection  These are the latest pair of shades that I'm coveting. Everyone looks cooler in aviators, right? Especially polarized lenses with beautiful gold rims.

Snacks  There are few places I go without snacks. The park is not one of them. You can quickly lose cash on dirty water hot dogs and pretzels if you're not prepared. We're still loving our Nature Box goodies. We toss a few in our bag on our way out the door.

And THAT's how you picnic like a pro!

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