The Many Paths in Central Park
The past few days had gone by with me not feeling quite myelf. Fighting a cold and feeling exhausted has kept me home-bound for two days, which is huge for me and the boys as they are always doing something or another. Today however, I was feeling not 100%, but a lot better, and this was enough to get me motivated to go for a 6AM jog in Fort Tryon park and plan a few hours with the boys in Central Park in the afternoon.
The boys were in an especially good and sweet mood, they have been for weeks and I wonder if they are simply growing out of something and into something else. Whatever it is, I’m loving it!
We took the C train to 72nd St and Central Park West. It was perfect out, not too hot, not too cold, and sunny. I made reservations to see a marionette production of Peter Pan at the Swedish Cottage’s Marionette Theatre in Central Park. I had walked by the theatre many times before, knew the surroundings pretty well also, but somehow the minute I walked along the path off of 72nd St in Central Park I felt I had lost my way and realized I was completely disoriented. Finally I came upon a few older men who worked as volunteers for the Central Park Conservancy and they informed me that not only was I on the wrong side of the park (I made a right turn instead of a left on the path), I was also too far to make it to the last show on time.
“I want to see Peter Pan!” cried my 3.5 year old.
“I can’t find Peter Pan’s house,” I responded, “but I have something better. Wanna see?”
“Yeaaaah!” cheered the boys.
I thanked the men, happily accepted the map of the park they offered her (I feel that every New Yorker, not just tourists, needs one), and continued down one of the many paths.
I walked past musicians, open lawns with people sunbathing and reading. I walked past several large rocks on top of which young men and women kissed, played their instruments, or just talked. The boys stopped to climb rocks, pick up sticks, chase pigeons or squirrels, and pet dogs.
As we walked through one of the many tunnels, we could hear music echoing through.
“It’s the circus!” exclaimed my 3.5 year old jumping in excitement. “Circus! Circus!” repeated the 2.5 yr old who has never been to one.
“No, but it’s something just as fun!” I responded.
We reached the other side and came upon The Carousel. When my 11 year old was about the same age as my little ones now, we used to spend hours upon hours at the carousel. Back then the ride was only $1.00 (now it’s $2.00) and I would let him ride a few times before sitting down on one of the benches eating ice cream and watching the horses go round and round.
It made me nostalgic to be here again, as a mother of little ones, and that the carrousel is still there to offer to a fun pastime.
The great thing about weekdays in the park is that there aren’t many crowds for anything. I quickly purchased three tickets and was able to get on the ride right away. The boys seemed somewhat nervous, as the only other carousel they have gotten on was at the County Fair and that was significantly smaller.
Her little one seemed apprehensive and even shaky at first and her older toddler didn’t really now what to expect. She got them on, put on their straps, and the ride started to turn. Almost immediately the boy began to laugh. The ride is fast and considerably long. The beautiful, antique, and well maintained horses go up and down, and the carousel itself is old and beautiful, charming in so many ways.
“Wooooohoooooo!” the 2.5 kept yelling out. “Giddy-up! Giddy-up!” yelled the 3.5 year old. Of the few kids there, mine were the ones making the most noise.
As the ride began to slow down I worried that they would make a scene, so I told them the horses were tired and needed to rest. I was surprised and happy to see that this was enough to get them off and out without a sound of discontent.
“I have another surprise for you” I told them. “Yaaaaaaay!” they yelled in unison.
A short walk straight up the hill from the carousel led us to one of the best and biggest play areas in Central Park, Hecksher Playground. With over 3 acres of play area, this playground has it all. Climbing rocks for both big and small, smooth, cushioned patches for little crawlers to venture on, sandbox galore, slides, swings, and several water play areas and four restrooms. The boys saw this place and they went nuts, immediately running away together to the nearest climbing section they could find.
We spent hours playing there, taking only one bathroom break the entire time. The boys played and ran and chased and jumped and slid, it was no surprise to that eventually they both came up to me rubbing their eyes and wanting to go home.
So I led them back towards the carousel, let them get on one more time before “the horses got tired again”, bought them some popcorn and treated myself to a good ol’ fashion New York City hot dog.
The boys rested for a bit before making their way back out the park.
“I love the circus and the park, Mama,” said my 3.5 year old.
“That was the carousel, sweetheart, but yes, it has music like the circus. Do you want to come back?” I asked.
“Yes,” he responded, “but next time let’s bring Daddy and (the r 11 yr old) cause that was fun!”
“Ok, sweetheart, we will. Next time the whole family will come back together, ok?”
“Yaaaaaaaaaaay!” the boys cheered in unison.
what a beautiful pictorial…as an "upstater" i have visited the park many a times but have never made it to the carousel and the vicinity. fun to see through your lens.
Loved this post! We took our daughter to the carousel when we visited last year and she loved it just as much as your boys. She even found the horse she rode in your photo. I didn't know about that playground, but it will be a must stop next trip. We recognized many of the sites from our own trip and photos.
Your posts are so beautiful, they always make me weepy. I love New York City so much and wish it was in our immediate future to make a life there. Until then, I will continue to read your posts and share them with my daughter…and dream Thank you.
My boys and I love this area of Central Park, especially the area right before where you can see street vendors selling their wares, as well as the cartoonists who draw carciture. I haven't been there this year but your pictures make me want to take a stroll over there very soon!
I am feeling very nostalgic right now! Central Park was my backyard. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.