Monday, August 9, 2010

A Walk in the Park

This weekend Eric and I crossed off yet another NYC To-Do List item: walk the full loop of Central Park. Of course, Eric has run the full 6.2-mile (10k) park loop many times, but I had never actually walked the whole way around. Eric was excited to show me his running trail and the hills and various spots he sees on his way, so I agreed to walk it with him.

It was quite a hike, I will say that. Of course, the jogging trail itself is 6.2 miles, but we also wandered off track to check things out here and there, plus we walked to and from the park, too. All in all, we probably walked about 8-9 miles. Even for seasoned walkers such as ourselves, that's a pretty long walking day. Below is a simplified map of Central Park to give you an idea - we followed that inside grey line that circles the whole length of the park.

But, it was a really nice walk. I got to see parts of the park I've never seen before, and there's just so many things to see and do in Central Park. We started at the southwest corner of the park (Columbus Circle) and walked counterclockwise, going north along the east side of the park then over and back down the west side.

Statue at the SW corner of the park

We walked along the south end of the park, past Wollman Rink and my favorite spot to sit for an afternoon of reading. Our first stop for something new was at the Chess and Checkers spot, where there are a number of checkerboard tables and you can sign out either chess pieces or checkers to play for as long as you like. Eric and I played a game (which he won handily), then Eric was nice enough to play with a little kid who was looking for someone to play with (but he was not nice enough to let him win). It was really fun!

Playing checkers in Central Park

Clearly, this is not going well for me.

We continued north from there, past the Literary Walk, where there was a violinist playing. We stopped and listened for a while before continuing on our way. I should mention that we heard many different musicians all over the park, including this violinist, a singer, a saxophonist, and men playing paint buckets as drums. I love the music in the park!

Violinist in the park

VIDEO: Violinist just south of the Literary Walk

We continued past the Rumsey Playfield, where I saw Wizard of Oz under the stars last fall. For the summer they are having regular SummerStage concerts there, which are free to the public. We haven't been to one, but they do draw crowds!

People lining up for Saturday's SummerStage concert

We then made a quick detour over to the Conservatory Water to check out a puppeteer and the boats that are always sailing in the water.

A woman with her marionettes, and an adorable sailboat behind her

Conservatory Water (that's a duck floating on a board in the foreground)

We also ran into the "Still Hunt" statue as we walked, which I really like. The cat just sits up on a rock, and it's very easy to miss. It really does look like he's stalking his prey - perhaps the runners on the jogging trail?

"Still Hunt" statue

Look at him perched up there, looking out over the jogging trail!

We also passed the Obelisk, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. One of these days, I need to get myself into those museums.

The Obelisk

The Guggenheim, as seen from the park

We also stopped to take in the views around the Reservoir - always a lovely sight.

At the Reservoir

When we finally made our way to the north end of the park and over to the west side, we exited the park for a little detour. When Eric was a summer associate here before we made the move, he lived in an apartment on W. 112th Street. We stopped by his old neighborhood for lunch at the pizza place he used to frequent (Giovanni's), then continued on south to Michael's for a little craft shopping (more on that to come!).

Eric enjoying pizza at his old stomping grounds

We then made our way back into the park and continued on. We passed the Delacorte Theater, where they have been having Shakespeare in the Park performances this summer. This year's plays were "The Winter's Tale" and "The Merchant of Venice," starring Al Pacino, Jesse Tyler Ferguson ("Mitchell" from Modern Family) and Jesse L. Martin (the original "Collins" from Rent). We wanted desperately to go, but unfortunately, so did the rest of New York. In order to go, you had to wait in line for a minimum of 6 hours OR hope and pray you got lucky in the online lottery. For the last performance, people started camping out around 1:30 a.m. for ticket distribution at 1:00 p.m. Yes, that's a 12-hour wait. We're just not that crazy, so no Shakespeare for us.

From there, we continued on past the Belvedere Castle and Shakespeare Garden. The last time I saw those things was when Eric was a summer associate and I visited him - back before we were married!

Belvedere Castle

View of Turtle Pond from Belvedere Castle

At Belvedere Castle

Shakespeare Garden

As we continued south, we came along some great views of the Lake that Eric always admires when he runs. It really was beautiful - the water is populated with people in canoes courtesy of The Boathouse, and it's just very pretty. There was a musician nearby playing some Beatles tunes, which made a great soundtrack as we admired the view.

Looking out over the Lake

The Lake

We also passed through the Wisteria Arbor, which until now has been blocked off by construction. It was also very pretty.

Wisteria Arbor

We also made our way through Strawberry Fields and past the Imagine Mosaic, but I have posted tons of pictures of that since we've lived here so no pictures today!

And that was our walk through the park! Of course, this is just a sampling of the wonderful things we saw. Central Park is just such a cool place because all the different areas have such a different feel, and there is such a variety of things to see and do. You can sunbathe, walk, listen to live music, see concerts, run, ride bikes, take a carriage ride, play sports, go canoeing, walk your dog, etc., etc. The list just goes on and on. What's not to love about that?

Also, our fun day ended with a fun surprise for me in the mailbox - a jury summons! Isn't that great? As you know, I work in jury consulting, and I have always wanted to be called for jury duty to see the process from the other side, so to speak. I don't expect to actually get on a jury, but I'm still pretty excited. Am I the only person ever to be excited about jury duty?

And in other news, my friend Megan is coming to visit me today! She's staying until Thursday and I'm very excited about it. Don't worry though, I won't neglect you - I have another post scheduled to go up for you in a couple days. That one will be about our somewhat silly "craft night" after our long walk in the park! We're really kind of dorks. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

AD said...

Enjoyed the tour! I just ♥ New York.