Central Park Statues !

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day and the first day I did not have to get up thinking of assignments, required readings, and my weekday classes. Spring semester was finally over, just in time to go outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather and what I love the best about spring is the rainbow of colors for our visual senses. What better way to enjoy spring in the city than visit NYC’s most celebrated of all parks..Central Park.

No matter how often I go there, I always see something new, learn something new and wonder at how much beauty, comfort, people, and nature can be found in just a stretch of land that is no more than 2.5 miles long (59th to 110th street) and .5 miles wide. (3 aves wide- 5th ave through central park west/8th ave). In area the  Park is about 843 acres.

The tour I went on yesterday was called ‘Central Park Statue Walking tour’.  I naively thought we would cover all the statues in Central Park. Although I nice goal to have, we certainly did not complete it but never the less did see many of them and I felt good that there would be more to discover in the future! (‘Glass half full’ syndrome I guess :-))

Here are some of the highlights.

1. Balto- in honor of rescue dogs ( Location: East Drive at 67th Street)

This sculpture honors the sled dog who saved Alaska’s children from a diphtheria epidemic by delivering medicine over the frozen tundra. Balto became a national hero. Just 10 months after the successful mission, this statue by animal sculptor Frederick G. R. Roth was dedicated in Central Park. (courtesy: http://www.centralparknyc.org/

Next to Balto’s statue we met a couple who had this little cute dog in its own dog carriage. Wasn’t the point of walking dogs the fact that dogs needed to walk?? Maybe a little too much of TLC here..

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2.  ‘Angel of the Waters’ statue (location: Mid-Park at 72nd Street, center of Bethesda Terrace)

It is one of the largest fountains in New York, and is the only sculpture to have been commissioned as a part of Central Park’s original design. This neoclassical sculpture stands above four small cherubim representing health, purity, temperance, and peace. The angel herself carries a lily in one hand while the other remains outstretched, poised in the action of delivering a blessing on the water pouring from around her feet and into the basin at the bottom of the fountain. This is to commemorate the 1842 opening of the Croton Aqueduct, which supplied New York City with fresh water.(courtesy: http://www.centralparknyc.org/)

We were very lucky to experience the uniqueness of such a large place..one corner there was a guy skipping away with a jump rope, another corner, there was a crowd watching break dancing, and inside the terrace a gorgeous model posing for a photo-shoot. We also came across an elderly couple playing beautiful string music. It was almost a surreal moment where you can forget all your troubles and really just enjoy being in the present. That doesn’t happen often, so to be in the moment and realize it is something quite special.

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3. To be or not to be..origins of BeBe!

Next the tour guide showed us a Shakespeare statue in the middle of the park. I wasn’t too surprised to see that, especially since Shakespeare is such a global character and central park is known and loved for its free ‘Shakespeare in the park’ summer events. What surprised me was the ‘Did you know’ fact the guide threw at us. He said that the retail chain BeBe (pronounced Bee-Bee) is named after Shakespeare’s famous line ‘To Be or not to Be’. And sure enough, Wikipedia confirmed it.

The Shakespeare statue in the park faces the Columbus statue (so that they can chat away at night, I guess!). What’s even more special about this area is the beautiful line of trees (referred to as ‘The mall’). This part of the park is called the Literary Walk. It’s located at East 66th Street, South end of the Mall.

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In conclusion, I would like to remind myself what a wonderful gift nature is and we who live in NYC are so lucky to have this piece of green available to be enjoyed by all citizens alike, from the smallest squirrel, to the two-legged and four-legged kind! Have a wonderful spring all and hope this piece inspires you to take your camera and go explore your nearest piece of nature!

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