New York City – Central Park Visit (Before Sandy)

This post was written by jd on November 26, 2012
Posted Under: Travel


This time our week long trip in early October 2012 was to New York City, John and I, along with John’s daughter Teresa, and her daughter Leah.

Day One – New York City –  Grand Central Park

Traveling from our Queens Hotel to the downtown area via subway, we arrived at the NYC Central Park at the south entrance, and saw the squirrels near the Heckster Playground. We then went walking past the Central Park Carousel (Since 1971, a carousel has operated at this location in Central Park. The current replaced the original that was destroyed in a fire in 1950. Built in 1908, the current carousel was originally on Coney Island and is famous for having the largest hand carved horses of any carousel.) PS: no picture in our video check the link.

We then strolled up the “Literary Walk”, and the Mall Pomenade, one of the few formal features of Central Park, the Promenade is flanked by American elm trees, a favorite of Central Park architects Olmstead and Vaux. There are many statues of literary figures along the Mall, including Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns. Located in the middle of the park, The Mall runs from 66th to 72nd Streets past an old white band shell for concerts.

Following that we visited the Angel of the Waters, also called Bethesda Fountain, rising from the Bethesda Terrace on “The Lake” in Central Park. (The statue references the Gospel of John, which describes an angel blessing the Pool of Bethesda and giving it healing powers.) On our walk in that area we saw at least five (5) weddings!! It was amazing  – all different kinds of people and formality!

Walking west, we ended up at the entrance to the park at Merchants Gate, and saw the Maine Monument which commemorates the 260 American sailors who perished when the US battleship Maine exploded in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, then under Spanish rule. It is still unclear what caused the explosion on February 15, 1898, but Spain declared war on the United States by April 1898. The treaty, which ended the war in December 1898, freed Cuba from Spanish dominion, ceded Puerto Rico and Guam and surrendered the Philippines to the United States.

The gilded bronze figures atop the pylon represent Columbia Triumphant leading a seashell chariot of three hippocampi — part horse, part sea-creature that are said to be cast from metal recovered from the guns of the Maine itself. The figures reflect America’s new position as a dominant world force.

Unfortunately we only had one day to spend in the Park, and only covered (briefly) less than a third of its area. We now hear that Hurricane Sandy downed over 800 trees in the park. Sad.

Written by Judy J Pinegar

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