Happy New Year!

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Hello readers.

This is Tom Levier, creator and writer of Central Park: A Misguide.

As 2013 draws to a close, I would like to thank you for reading and subscribing to this blog.

The Misguide will return in 2014 with more fascinating stories about the greatest park in the world.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Sheep Meadow where a special pine tree makes all your New Years resolutions come true!

Have a Happy New Year!

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It Happened Here! – The Great Lawn

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November 20, 1937.

On a chilly Saturday morning, dozens of New Yorkers gathered on the Great Lawn for a very special Thanksgiving treat from J.L. Harbinger, owner of Harbinger’s Sports Emporium, Manhattan’s largest sporting goods store.

Calling it “The Great Lawn Turkey Shoot” Harbinger promised all in attendance the opportunity to “celebrate Thanksgiving like our forefathers did by shooting a turkey with reasonably priced weapons provided by Harbinger’s Sports Emporium.”

Armed with long bows and small caliber rifles, participants lined up on the southern end of the Great Lawn as Harbinger’s assistant’s set loose a bunch of farm raised turkeys from a pen located in the center.  Harbinger fired a ceremonial shot from his pistol and declared the hunt to be on!

When the smoke finally cleared 15 minutes later, all of the turkeys had escaped unharmed. Several participants were  treated at the scene for minor gunshot and arrow wounds. The only fatality was Morton Finnay of Brooklyn New York who was felled by 13 gunshots and seven arrows by his wife Caroline, who swore until her dying day she thought her husband was an extra large turkey who often criticized her cooking and housekeeping skills.

It Happened Here! 

Happy Thanksgiving from Central Park: A Misguide!

Bethesda Terrace Arcade Time Portal

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Connecting the world famous Bethesda Fountain to the Mall is a magnificent subterranean passageway known as The Arcade, a true highlight of any visit to Bethesda Terrace. This beautiful walkway features an amazing ceiling featuring more than 15,000 tiles, beautiful archways painted to mimic centuries old marble, and the only functioning time portal in the borough of Manhattan!

How is it possible? Could it be the way the imported tiles were arranged when they were installed in 1869 by a practicing alchemist, or the configuration of the columns the original park workers lovingly dubbed “the cursed columns from an unholy world?”  Nobody knows for sure. But for many years random park visitors, while strolling through the arcade have found themselves transported to a very specific time in their past or future. Here are a few bizarre incidents recorded by park historians:

1886 – East side resident Franz Keller claims that while walking towards the Bethesda fountain, he had what he thought was a vision of New York City far into the future, where “buildings touched the sky, people travelled in metal, horseless wagons, and a man named Starbucks owned a shop on every street corner.”

1915 – While admiring the tile ceilings in the Arcade, Brian Cochran was transported back in time three years to his native Ireland the very minute his neighbor Colin O’Toole told him he had booked passage to the United States aboard the RMS Titanic. Instead of warning O’Toole not to board the doomed ocean liner, Cochran wished him good luck on his trip. Cochran was kind of a jerk.

1936 – Penniless hobo Stanley Fitzgerald found himself transported back to October 1929 – a week before the infamous Stock Market Crash.  With his knowledge of what was soon to happen, he was able to save his fortune from being lost. Fitzgerald returned to 1933 a millionaire but lost all of his money a year later producing the failed Broadway musical “Hitler On The Town!”

1965-1980 – During this 15 year period there are multiple reports in the park archives of people who swore they experienced time travel at Bethesda Arcade, but pretty much everyone in New York City was on drugs back then so these claims are unreliable.

2011 – Local fashion blogger Janette Feig was transported to her family home on Long Island in the 1980s where she encountered her 16 year old self who wore nothing but stonewashed jeans. Miss Feig never recovered from her experience.

It Happened Here! – The East Green

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April 3, 1954.

While walking through past the East Green on his way to a rehearsal of his upcoming show The Pajama Game, famed theater impresario Jerome Robbins was set upon by a young, well coiffed gang of toughs who performed an elaborately song and dance number before stealing the producer/director/choreographer’s briefcase and wallet.

Impressed by the gang’s crisp choreography and flawless vocals, Robbins began crafting a show based on the typical New York City street gang he encountered that day, and three years later the West Side Story premiered at the Winter Garden Theatre and became an instant Broadway classic.   

It happened here!

Important Announcement:

Due to the extreme heat wave that is gripping New York City, anyone visiting Central Park is advised to drink plenty of water, avoid over exertion, and wear appropriate sun protection.

You know what, just take off your clothes and walk around naked. Go right ahead. We’re totally okay with that. It is pretty friggin hot out there, so we might as well make the best of it right? So drop those pants and let it all hang out. Just put a towel down if you’re going to sit on a bench. Thanks.

 

 

The Pond

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Just across the street from the world famous Plaza Hotel and the hustle and bustle of 59th street is a veritable oasis in the heart of Manhattan – The Pond.

This gorgeous body of water is home to the picturesque Gapstow Bridge and is the perfect spot for any harried New Yorker looking for  a quiet place to enjoy a quick lunch.

Here are some interesting facts and bits of trivia about The Pond:

Widely believed to be a naturally formed body of water, The Pond was actually constructed in England by talented pond artisans, then disassembled and shipped to America for reassembly in 1855. Due to a misprint on the shipping manifest, several thousand tons of rock wound up in a garden apartment in Brooklyn.

The Pond is home to the Hallut Nature Sanctuary, where many small animals live in a natural safe environment. Any small animals wishing to live in the sanctuary must submit an application (complete with references) with the Hallut Nature Sanctuary Homeowners association.

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned the sale of large sized soft drinks in 2012 in an effort to get New York residents to live healthier, The Pond was drained of Mountain Dew and refilled with plain spring water.

The Pond is a very popular rest stop  for migrating ducks and other assorted waterfowl.

Except cranes.

Apparently The Pond isn’t up to their particular standards. Arrogant, long necked, little bastards.

In the wee hours of the morning on July 5 1874,  an inebriated President Ulysses S. Grant was found swimming in The Pond by his Secret Service detail. As he was pulled from the water, an enraged Grant cursed his bodyguards for interrupting his attempt to cross the English Channel.

One time at The Pond I saw this guy making out with his girl on a bench. I mean they were really going at it. Everyone there was like “dude, get a room,” but they didn’t care at all. Totally messed up.

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