Important Announcement:

Due to the inclement weather the rain dance exhibition scheduled for 3 PM today at Sheep Meadow has been postponed.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience.

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The Passive Aggressive Patch

May3CentralPark

 

Looking for something fun to do?

Of course you are. You’re all about having fun no matter what the cost.

Then how about heading over to the southern tip of the East Green, where the most beautiful patch of white daffodils in Central Park awaits you. Tourists and native New Yorkers flock to this area every summer to gaze upon this beautiful sea of flowers –  but hey, why do I have to tell you? This is probably something you already know since you know everything.

Think of how wonderful it would be to come to the park on a day when you’re not so busy with that low paying job you should have left years ago and relaxing on a bench with a friend you haven’t seen for the longest time because you never check your text messages. Oh that’s right, you can’t text at your job even though everyone does but you have to follow the rules of the office even though it hasn’t gotten you a promotion.

So whenever you get the chance be sure to see the beautiful white daffodils on the East Green. No rush of course. Come by when your busy schedule clears up.

And if you can’t make it this summer, don’t worry about it. They’re just flowers. They’ll just die and grow back next year.

No thanks to you.   

 

 

 

Spring

spring

As difficult as it is to pick the best time of the year to visit Central Park, it’s hard not to argue with anyone who picks Spring.

Spring is a beautiful time in Central Park; the snow and ice has melted, the waters of the Pond and Lake return to a crystal clear blue, and the trees and flowers literally explode in a gorgeous celebration of color!

How does Central Park manage to display all of this beauty year in and year out? Well it has a little something to do with the powers of Mother Nature, and a lot of help from the hard working men and women of the Central Park Foliage Brigade.

Every year while New Yorkers are huddled in their apartments hiding from the winter chill, the CPFB is hard at work in preparing for Spring. Day and night for months these skilled artists fold millions of tiny flowers (each slightly different from the other)  from discarded phone books and Chinese takeout menus. These flowers are then painted by hand in an amazing variety of colors, perfectly mimicking the dozens of species of flora all over the park. Each flower is then glued in place using the strongest industrial adhesives available, insuring each delicate bloom will be around well into summer!

Special lawn and leaf painters using tiny paint brushes apply a fresh coat of green paint to each blade of grass in the meadow and every leaf in The Ramble. Painting tiny blades of grass by hand is tiresome work, (many lawn and leaf artists lose their sight and are prone to madness)  but it’s well worth it when you lay out on a freshly painted lawn on a warm spring day.

And the melodic songing of the birds? You can thank the Central Park Foliage Brigade’s Avain Division for that! Each year the CPFBAD raises thousands of songbirds in a private hatchery and trains each one to chirp in a pitch that stimulates the right and left hemispheres of your brain, making you a happy and productive member of society who is finally good at math!

So be sure head to the park this Spring and check out all the beautiful flora and fauna on display courtesy of the CPFB! And feel free to leave a small cash donation at any Central Park information kiosk, because the fine work of the CPFB costs millions of dollars and is bankrupting New York City!

Seriously, they’re going to close schools and firehouses.

The Ravine

ravine

Located alongside the Wildflower Meadow in the North region of Central Park,  The Ravine is one of the most serene places the park has to offer. With it’s flowing stream (known as The Loch), rugged stone steps, and winding paths, the Ravine is a perfect display of nature  at its most tranquil.

Voted “Most Tranquil place in New York City” by Tranquil Quarterly from 2003-11, the cascading waters of the Ravine is the perfect remedy for frazzled nerves.

Harried park visitors looking to relax, decompress, and have their weary spirits return to a state of relaxation not felt since childhood before the real world took a big dump in their Cheerios will have a serendipitous experience in this magical place.

And as a special bonus, beginning in April special Tranquility Counselors from the Central Park Wellness Coalition will be patrolling the Ravine to answer questions and point visitors to the areas along The Loch that have been deemed the “most mellow.”

In keeping with the overwhelmingly tranquil nature of The Ravine, visitors are advised to silence their smartphones, clear their Qi of any negative energy, and leave that friend who can’t shut up for five goddamn seconds at the ball fields.

Bethesda Fountain, aka The Fountain That Grants Wishes

bethesdafountain

Without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Central Park is Bethesda Terrace. This magnificent plaza of stone and brick has been featured in countless films and TV shows and is one of the most visited attractions in the entire park.

At the edge of Bethesda Terrace overlooking The Lake is the magnificent Bethesda Fountain. This beautiful fountain is topped with a sculpture known as The Angel of the Waters. The winged female figure is depicted stretching out her hand to bestow her blessings on the bubbling water below.

And if you’re lucky, perhaps The Angel of the Waters will grant you a wish!

The Bethesda Fountain has been granting random wishes to people since the first day of its construction when stone mason Rico Bertucci wished for the afternoon off and was struck on the head with a falling hammer, rendering him unconscious for the rest of the day.

For nearly a century and a half park goers and tourist have flocked to the fountain hoping their wish will be granted by the Angel of the Waters. While most have gone away empty handed, a few lucky ones have had their lives changed forever.

1880 – Local haberdasher Carlton Blummer wished to learn what his fiance was thinking. A week later he called off the engagement because his beloved Beatrice  only thoughts were about a naked President James Garfield.

1897 – A Manhattan  shipping clerk Boris Hublick wishes for wealth and fame. He is granted fabulous wealth, but the fame is on back order. When it arrives four months later, Hublick cannot accept the fame, because he has misplaced the receipt. He dies twenty years later in obscurity.

1907 – Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini wishes to pull off the hardest trick in the world. Two weeks later, he successfully hails a cab on Broadway during rush hour in a rain storm.

1948 – While visiting New York City on their honeymoon, a newlywed couple made a wish at the fountain. The bride wished for a child, and her husband Fidel Castro wished the bourgeois capitalist system controlling his homeland of Cuba to be overthrown in a bloody revolution. A few short years later, they both got their wish!

1959 – Local beatnik Sylvester Grange wishes at the fountain for inspiration to create the ultimate poem that will “tear down the walls of this nowhere society and put the fatcats and squares in their place, man!” Grange is instantly struck by lightning when he refers to the Angel of the Waters as “one groovy and far out chick.”

1976 – New York Yankees manager Billy Martin drops a coin in the Bethesda fountain and wishes for his team to win the upcoming World Series. A week later after the Yankees are swept in the series by the Cincinnati Reds, an inebriated Martin is spotted wading into the fountain to recover his coin and is dragged away by park personnel.

1982 – Struggling dancer Madonna Louise Ciccone wishes to become a successful singer and entertainer. The Angel of the Waters thought she heard the young woman say “I wish to become extremely self important and annoying in 20 or 30 years” and grants her that wish instead.

2012 – High School sophomore Miranda Trilby, not familiar with the procedures for making a wish at a fountain, texts her wish on her smartphone and tosses the device into the water.

 

Samuel Morse

Just off the East 72nd Street entrance (also known as Inventor’s Gate) is the magnificent statue of Samuel Morse, famed inventor of the telegraph machine.

Morse also created the method of transmitting words and messages on the telegraph system. This clever series of dots and dashes became known as Morse Code, which is still in use today.

Morse became fascinated with code making, and created several other codes before his death in 1872.

These codes are:

The Code of the West – A list of guidelines involving horse etiquette, the multiple meanings of the word “howdy,” and the best time of day to shoot someone.

The Code of Silence – Created to avoid lengthy conversations with his second wife Sarah and her problems with the household staff.

Bar Code  – Not related to the system of product classification we are familiar with today. Sam really liked hanging out in bars.

The Code of the Desert – Same as the Code of the West, only with Camels.

Unnamed Code – Discovered in a notebook after Morse’s death, this 10 digit code remained a mystery for over a century until it was revealed to be the cheat code for Mike Tyson’s Punch Out on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The DaVinci Code – Yeah, that too.

Seasons Greetings from Central Park: A Misguide!

wreath

Clothespin Wreath from the Wreath Interpretations Exhibit, 2011

Happy Holidays!

2012 is drawing to a close, and before we ring in a 2013, I would like to thank my readers for another great year. Your support of this blog has been wonderful, and I cannot possibly express my gratitude enough.

The Misguide will return in January with more fascinating stories about the greatest park I know, Central Park.

In the meantime, if you’re visiting New York City this month, be sure to visit the park, where there are plenty of  holiday activities going on!

Ultimate Santa – Santas from all 5 boroughs will be battling in a series of games to be declared the King of the Kringles! Be sure to get there early for the reindeer jousting! (Dec. 15-16, 9:00 am at Sheep Meadow)

Eggnog: The Untold Story (Dec 18) This fascinating seminar will teach you everything you never wanted to know about this fascinating Christmas beverage! Bring your own cups. (Dec. 18, 7:00 pm, Chess and Checkers House)

Anatomically Correct Snowperson Building Contest – Will be held on the Great Lawn the day after the first snowfall.

Once again, thanks for reading, and have a joyous holiday season, and a Happy New Year!

Thomas J Levier, creator, Central Park: A Misguide