My First Real Trip to Central Park
I may be a born-and-raised New Yorker, but I’m still new to the whole “living in the city” thing. Every day, I’m still working on creating my pockets, as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post. My mind still has to go through that 30-second thought process of “Okay, am I on the East side? Is this upper or lower? If I’m going to 28th from here, then that’s uptown, right?!?” I feel confident that one day I’ll just know, but until then, I am still busy orienting myself and getting acquainted with this huge city. Hopefully, it feels it has room for me.
Yesterday was one such exploring day, as I woke up with a super strong desire to make Central Park one of my pockets. I’ve been to Central Park before, but with someone who knew their way around and who didn’t really explain directions to me. You know the kind of tour guide that just allows you to hold onto their arm as they whisk you onto this train and that train and down these four blocks and up these six streets but doesn’t teach you how to navigate? Yeah, I was with one of those. So I figured it was time for me to do it myself.
First thing on my seriously tourist-like to-do list was to visit the Balto statue. This may sound really cliche and boring, but Balto is my dad and I’s thing. We watched it twice a day together when I was growing up and when I think of that animated movie, I think of a lot of great memories made in our tiny den, sharing a bowl of fruit salad with my father. I promised my parents I would locate the famous statue and then be able to effortlessly bring them to it the next time they visit me.
Maybe it’s lame, but I have to admit it was pretty cool to see this statue, which is featured in the live-action part of the film, in the flesh. The bottom plaque reads, “Endurance. Fidelity. Intelligence.” I can so easily recall the little girl in the film tracing her hands along the engraving reading, “Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs.” I can’t wait to bring my dad and have one of our favorite memories come full circle. (Sorry for being so sentimental, I’m feeling sentimental!) For those wondering, the entrance to this statue is easily accessed on 67th st.
Next, I checked out the famous Alice in Wonderland statue and just as I anticipated, thanks to a helpful tip from FourSquare, it was nearly impossible to snap a picture because so many kids are constantly jumping, climbing, and posing on Alice and the Mad Hatter’s mushrooms. Luckily, I finally got this one (although, admittedly, I cropped an arm out of the left side).
Now, it wouldn’t be Stephanie’s Cliched Trip to Central Park without a pitstop at Strawberry Fields. Again with more of my cliched emotions, but I definitely felt goosebumps as I knelt in front of the Imagine plaque. Someone had placed a single rose over it, and immediately upon seeing it, I was overwhelmed with what this very place must have looked like when Beatles fans learned John Lennon had been mercilessly shot and killed. This was where people grieved, where they congregated and sought understanding as to how someone who preached peace could be killed in such a senseless act of violence and see such an unjust end. It gave me chills.
After these spots where crossed off my New York to-do list, I decided to return to the setting of one of my most fond college memories: Grand Central Station. I hadn’t been there in a long time, since I interned in the city my senior year, probably. It felt so good to be back. I tripped into the market area of GCS, where I found the most amazing meringue shells. I mean, look at the size of those things.
Oh, and also this glorious thing happened and it seriously made my heart do a fluttery thing. I wanted to hug each of them.
Have you been exploring your city? Where are your favorite places?