My Grandma lives at 72nd and Central Park West, next to the Dakota where John Lennon was shot. Her apartment also resides right in front of one of the entrances into NYC’s biggest park, Central Park. I am lucky to have a Grandma who lived in one of the best located apartments in Manhattan. I have great childhood memories. There are three special memories I have of growing up with Central Park as my Grandma’s backyard: the Central Park Zoo, Tavern on the Green, and the Carousel. It wasn’t a bad childhood I can tell you that much. I have the fondest memories of a time when I danced the night away with my sister (we must have been 7 or 8 ) at the historic restaurant, Tavern on the Green. I always loved when she took me to the zoo to watch the polar bears play with their toys. And I thank her for putting up with my sister and I because we’d ride that Carousel until the sun would start to set.
Now the time spent there is seldom and far in between. As a college student I see my Grandma less and less but when I do, Central Park is one of the places we spend love to spend our time together. However twelve years later, I don’t fit on the Carousel anymore and now I feel sympathy and remorse for the poor polar bears who are stuck within the confinement of their small “playground”.
Now my Grandma can’t walk far distances so my Dad and I do the walking and we meet my lovely little grandmother for something to eat at the end of our stroll. My dad and I walk past Strawberry Field as we normally would and stroll through the park always to the east side to see an exhibit at The Met.
I’ve been in that Park a lot without ever living in Manhattan and I’d like to think I’m pretty familiar with it. But I recently took a stroll with my father who took me to a part of the park I had never seen before, The Ramble, a remote area filled with trees and wild shrubbery. It’s an area of the park not overcrowded by runners, bikers, and rollerbladers.
We walked past the Ramble, over the Bow Bridge, into Cherry Hill and towards the other side of Bethesda Terrace (that of course I have been to.) I had never walked over Bow Bridge before. My dad said a lot of film students come here to film romantic scenes. He says “its the most romantic place in Manhattan.” My first thought wasn’t “oh how nice!” it was “ugh, why is it that I’m in the most romantic part of Manhattan and not with my boyfriend (if I had one!). But I couldn’t deny how beautiful the site was even though I was with my father and not a boy; it was honestly breathtaking.
I forgot what the name of the bridge was called when I got home so I took the liberty of looking up bridges in Central Park and Google sent me to the official central park website “Things To See” page. It was here, while flipping through the 28 pages of things to see in Central Park, that I realized despite the hundreds of times I’ve walked through Central Park and regardless of the many memories I have being in that park, I know little about the park I’ve grown up in.