On Monday, I chased a bunch of elephants down 34th Street in the rain in the middle of the night.
And...there's a sentence I never imagined I would say.
Maybe it will make more sense if I mention that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to town this week?
Every year, when the circus comes to town, they march their elephants into Manhattan by way of the Queens/Midtown Tunnel, then down 34th Street to Madison Square Garden in the middle of the night. Eric and I heard about this last year, but it was already too late - we missed it. So this year, we were a little more on top of it. We learned those crazy pachyderms would be marching through Manhattan on March 22, so we made plans to be in attendance.
The night was actually lousy and if we weren't all about "doing everything we want to do in NYC NOW because you never know when we'll be leaving," we might have skipped it. Eric's knee was still sore from the half marathon and it was raining. Ugh, more rain. But, we don't want to pass up any opportunities to do New Yorky things, because we don't plan on being here forever and you just can't let these things pass you by. Because if you always put it off "till next year," before you know it you have lived in D.C. for three years and then moved away without ever having been to the Air and Space Museum. For example.
So we went. We left the house around 11:20p.m. or so and took a cab out to 37th Street and Third Avenue. We walked over to the opening of the Midtown Tunnel and waited, in the rain. And waited. And waited. Those elephants took their good ol' time, I'll tell you what. The estimates we had heard said they would emerge on the Manhattan side of the tunnel around midnight, but it was at least 12:30 by the time they actually showed up.
But at last, we saw them! They marched their way out of that tunnel and then stopped to pose for pictures for their adoring fans. Unfortunately, we were barricaded off a good distance away from them, and they let other people (apparently Elephant VIPs) up closer so our view wasn't stellar. Well, we could see alright, but the pictures aren't super. But it was still a sight to see!
This clearly is not one of OUR pictures, it was taken by one of the VIPs. I stole it from WCBS 880. But, I thought you should see a better shot of those elephants!
After their photo-op, the elephants continued on their journey and we decided to go down to 34th Street to catch another sight of them and maybe get some better pictures. But those elephants were really moving, so they beat us there. I decided to run to try to get a picture, but poor injured Eric couldn't run with me. So, armed with both the video and regular cameras, I took off down the street. I chased those elephants for several blocks, in the rain, trying desperately to get a decent photo with our camera and a little more video footage. I did what I could, including trying to snap pictures of the tiny ponies that were marching along behind the elephants and the clowns pushing pedicabs along the street. What a show! Apparently if it hadn't been raining there would have been stilt-walkers, too.
Once I was satisfied that our dying camera battery had done all it could do, I walked back to meet up with Eric. And finally re-opened my umbrella. The rain had really picked up again! We then hopped in a cab and called it a night. Another New York experience crossed off the list!
I think if we ever do this again, we won't bother with waiting at the Midtown Tunnel, since we couldn't really benefit from the posed photo-op anyway. Instead, we'll just find a great spot on 34th Street and camp out there. But, now we know! We did have a great time, and I also got some video of those crazy elephants. Check it out:
VIDEO: Elephants marching through Manhattan (set to "Pink Elephants on Parade" from "Dumbo," of course)
You just gotta love New York!