As Lisa and I researched the spots of the Park, one site in particular caught my eye: THE CAROUSEL! You know how Elf loves Santa? That's how I love carousels.
If you have visited Central Park, you know that it is CONFUSING!!! Holy cow - Lisa and I were following all of these paths trying to get to the Carousel. I'd read somewhere that it closed at 6 - and we were closing in on 6. It would've been such a downer to find out that when we finally found that carousel that it had just closed. I'm not joking...I would've been really upset.
Finally, we saw a sign indicating the Carousel was close at hand. I was so excited that I started to speed walk. There were butterflies in my stomach just at the thought of riding this carousel - and also at the fear that we were going to get there as the last ride of the day was going. So, naturally - I started walking fast! I would've started running, but Lisa was already laughing at me.
We weren't too late! We got to ride the Carousel! It was glorious! They played a bunch of songs about New York...but I specifically remember "Downtown."
After the carousel ride, we set off to find the castle. Yes, really. A castle in Central Park! Along the way, we came upon a 'revival' - an African American preacher (think T.D. Jakes) was preaching and there was worship music. It was pretty cool. We also came upon a pond with a GIANT fountain. It was breathtaking!
Finally, we came upon the castle. You may notice our lovely parasol props. It rained every day we were in New York. We didn't take our umbrellas today...so, we bought lovely $9.95 "parasols" from H&M.
After the castle, it was time to meet Jena. However, this meant getting OUT of Central Park! The castle was on the east-central side of the park...we wanted to get to the west side, so that we could get on the right subway. Well, we got there...but not at the "exit" we wanted. Seriously, I was following the map! But the roads aren't straight!
Anyway, the best part of the visit came at this point. While walking, I looked to my left and saw a racoon. (Remember the theme?) Along the lines of Elf, I squated down and walked toward it with my arms outstretched, "Hey buddy! Hi! Hi! How are you? Oh, do you need a hug? Looks like somebody needs a hug...." Then I had to explain the scene I'd just acted out to Lisa! Seriously, you have a couple kids and you just stop watching funny Christmas movies! However, that wasn't the best part. The best part was yet to come. Approaching us was a family of 4 from Asia - all wearing "dust" masks. Obviously, these people were concerned about their health...and probably not looking for a walk on the wild side. As they came upon us, Lisa says, "Hey! There's a racoon up there!" The father responds hesitantly (and probably in fear), "Uh, okay...thank you."
I looked at Lisa - not sure what to make of that statement. Was she trying to warn them? Because...why? I mean, the racoon was NOT interested in people - he totally turned and walked away from me during my Elf routine. So, I asked her, "Why did you just say that?" "Well, I thought maybe they would want to see it! I mean, my kids get to see racoons all the time - but I bet they don't!" Nope...bet they don't. And I bet that family walked on the other side of the road to avoid that racoon.
While on our journey to the edge of Central Park, Lisa looked at me and said, "You know what we didn't do? We should've ran like Phoebe!" Seizing the opportunity, I took off down the road, running like Phoebe. However, Lisa wasn't ready with her camera - so I had to do it again! ...and this time my parasol shot open while running. It was crazy spinning everywhere. A couple weeks later, Lisa's 4-year-old daughter looked at me and said, "Did you go with my mommy?" "yes." "I saw you running on the TV. Why were you running on the TV?" I thought to myself, "Oh, Madie. God only knows...God only knows...."
We did eventually make it out of Central Park and to Jena. We ate at Johnny Utah's - the oldest New York restaurant with a mechanic bull! Those city boys rode the bull holding on with both hands. They weren't real cowboys.
That night we enjoyed a 'SummerBrew Patio Party' at Jena's apartment. It...was...interesting....