Up and down, up and down, the scenery flashed past as the carousel spun, taking us laughing riders nowhere and everywhere all at once. It was my 30th birthday and I’d been lucky enough to convince Wandering Beeb, my sister and her partner to spend it with me in New York.
I’ve been a couple of times to New York, but never ridden the carousel in Central Park – and so this was the one thing that I wanted to do for my birthday.
The carousel has been in existence since 1871, first operated by a mule and horse who would pull the ride round from an underground platform. Fortunately, these days the ride is much more animal friendly and is powered mechanically.
I’ve always liked carousels and it felt like the best place to do something childlike and fun! Although the ride was short, it created a perfect snapshot picture, something that will always stay in my mind, the wind whipping round us, hair flying and most of all, lots of laughing.
We spent the rest of the day wandering around the park, taking in the highlights. Bethesda Fountain took our attention straight away, standing out against the blue sky. The noise of running water from the fountain merged with the sounds of the performers in the court yard, entertaining the crowds with a large bubble display.
We sat perched on the side of the stairs for a while, looking down on the activity below, before heading off to walk around Belvedere Castle. The image of the castle reflected in the pond certainly lived up to the castle’s name, which means ‘beautiful view’ in Italian.
The nearby pond, known as Turtle Pond was full of cheeky little turtles, all bobbing up in the water to see the human visitors wandering around the side of the pond. Once we spotted one, it was easy to see all of the other little shapes in the water, following people around for a sneaky bite of their lunch.
We stopped off at the Chess House – a brilliant idea of a place, filled with outdoor tables where people can set up their own games. I loved this and it felt like a hidden gem, bringing people together in a beautiful setting.
We rounded off the day sat on some of the large rocks, soaking up the sun and people watching, turning snippets of over-heard conversations into elaborate made-up back-stories. It was the best way to spend an afternoon, by being New Yorkers for the day in the hub of the big city.
What bits of Central Park did you enjoy the most? Are there any highlights we missed? Tell us your stories in the comments.