2012: New York

Central Park

Oct. 18


Another painfully long night on the concrete bed. This is NOT working!

We were planning our days based on the weather forecast. Today was supposed to be another pleasant day, so it was time for Mike's first outing on the subway system and a ride to Central Park.

I'd seen a lot of the southern end before, so I decided to head for the north end of the park and work our way back south. I was delighted with my decision when I first set eyes on the Harlem Meer, an eminently pleasant pond at the northwest corner of the park. I think it's one of the most peaceful, relaxing places I've ever seen. As we strolled the banks by the water, I felt great envy of the nearby residents who come here every day to walk their dogs. It's hard for me to believe that this wonderful place is over 150 years old.

Central Park is amazing not just for its beauty and tranquility in the midst of one of the world's busiest cities, but for its very existence. I have such admiration for the visionary men who imagined this place, and for the dogged determination it must have taken to follow through and create it. Then, of course, there are all those people who have been instrumental in restoration efforts over the decades, working to revitalize the park after a period of decline. As one of the millions of visitors who have strolled these walks and smiled, I wish I could thank each one of them.

Ironically, we saw more brilliant foliage in Central Park than we did in all of New England!

The many bodies of water in the park make it truly special. One of New York's signature residential buildings, the twin-towered San Remo, looks down on the largest of these, the central reservoir renamed in 1994 for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Since my camera couldn't get a nice panorama shot, I stole the one below.

In addition to promoting peacefulness, all those bodies of water also create wonderful opportunities for reflection shots, especially on a lovely sunny day like the one we experienced.

Belvedere Castle is charming to look at. That's pretty much all I can say about it. I had explored its insides on a previous trip, and we were getting tired; so we didn't climb up to its observation dec. But I did get a few nice shots of the castle overlooking Turtle Pond.

We finally made it south to the best-known water in Central Park, The Lake, famous for its rental rowboats.

After a full day admiring the park, I was pooped, so we made our way toward the subway, walking under a beautiful arbor on the way and briefly passing two more park institutions: a horse-drawn carriage, and Strawberry Fields.

We wanted to view the reflecting pools at the 9/11 memorial on a sunny day, and we needed advance tickets for a specific day and time. After a check of the forecast, it looked as if two days from now would be good weather. I had naively assumed that the concierge at the hotel could print the free tickets for us off the 9/11 website, but no. "We aren't allowed to access our guests' personal information,", he snottily said. Excuse me? What personal information? I'm going to stand here and give you our names, how complicated is that? So it turns out the REAL reason they won't do it is, they want to gouge you for some more money by forcing you to use their in-house computers, which charge a minimum of $5.00 for a few minutes online. Yeah. Personal information, my assets.

On the more positive side, the very VERY nice theater-ticket lady, who works right next to the concierge, heard my tale of woe about no coffeemaker in the room and exclaimed, "Oh, no, you can ask for one at the front desk!" At least there was one person in this hotel who'd heard the words "customer" and "service" in the same sentence. She also directed us to what became our fave local restaurant, an Irish pub right across the street.