How about taking a walk through New York City’s famed Central Park? It could give you a nice break during the APA annual meeting and also a splendid sense of the Manhattan of yesteryear.
For example, a century or so ago, Central Park was bustling with horses pulling phaetons, runabouts, and tandems. Today you can still hear the clop-clop of hooves as horses pull carriages containing tourists around the park. The horses and carriages can be hired at the southern end of the park—that is, along 59th Street across from the Plaza Hotel.
Walking just a few blocks farther into the park will bring you to a carousel emitting nostalgia-provoking calliope music and making the rounds with 57 magnificent steeds. The carousel has been enchanting children and adults in that location for more than half a century. The carousel was crafted back in 1908, but was later found abandoned in an old trolley terminal on Coney Island before being relocated to Central Park in 1951. It is one of the largest carousels in the United States and an outstanding example of American folk art.
The park offers more recent additions too—such as a garden dedicated to Beatle John Lennon. It is located near 72nd Street and Central Park West—across the street from the Dakota Apartments where Lennon lived until he was murdered in front of the building in 1980. The garden is called Strawberry Fields, after one of the Beatles’ songs, and the focus of the garden is an Italian mosaic bearing the title of Lennon’s most famous solo song—“Imagine,” which evokes a world without strife or war. More than 120 countries have endorsed Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace.
Central Park has something for animal fans as well—the Central Park Zoo. Its five-plus acres will take you through a variety of habitats, all carefully designed to recreate the natural environment of the animals they house. Two of the zoo’s most popular residents are snow-leopard cubs that are part of a breeding program designed to enhance the genetic diversity and demographic stability of the animals. Among the world’s most endangered big cats, their range is limited to remote mountains in Central Asia and parts of China, Mongolia, Russia, India, and Bhutan.
The newest addition to the Central Park Zoo is the Tisch Children’s Zoo. Here, children can get close to goats, sheep, a cow, and a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Small bronze sculptures of the animals stand next to their pens. When a child touches a sculpture, it emits an appropriate noise. The Children’s Zoo also includes an Enchanted Forest and the Acorn Theatre, where actors perform daily shows.
Finally, you might like to wander over to the Sheep Meadow, located in the southwestern area of the park from 66th to 69th streets. Until 1934, it was just what its name implies—a meadow for a flock of sheep. Today, it is a favorite spot for picnickers, kite flyers, sunbathers, families, and visitors who come to admire the dazzling New York City skyline encircling the park. ■