Thursday, 19 August 2010
New York: Central Park
We had spent most of the day at the wonderful Metropolitan Museum of Art - a cross between the National Gallery and the British Museum. Overwhelmed by its wonders, we decided on a diagonal walk across Central Park to clear our heads. It was designed by the same Frederick Olmsted who was responsible for Parc du Mont Real in Montreal.
We made our way to the Obelisk which stands behind the museum.
It is known as Cleopatra's Needle, although it has nothing to do with her. It is however ancient Egyptian and does have a fascinating history. It is one of a pair with the one on the Embankment in London. They are made of red granite and are about 21m high. They were originally erected in Heliopolis by Thutmose III in about 1450 BC and teh inscriptions were added by Rameses II about 200 years later. In 12BC they were moved to Alexandria by the Romans. It was requested as a gift from the government of Egypt by the City of New York, with the intention of matching London and also Paris (in Place de la Concorde).
We walked north from the Obelisk to follow a track along the east side of the massive Jackie Onassis reservoir. The view was impressive, and it reminded me of the lake at Fontainebleau which we walked around last year.
After a slight struggle we found our way across one of the roads which cross Central Park and headed diagonally to reach The Pool.
We were surprised to find someone fishing in this prettily landscaped pond. We then walked down to west 96th street to catch the subway back to our hotel.
Conditions: sunny and hot.
Distance: a couple of miles.
Rating: three and a half stars.
I finally got a clear sight of the large orange butterfly which has been teasing me throughout our north American trip - it is a Monarch. Probably obvious in retrospect. We saw two in quick succession beside the reservoir and then they, seemingly instantly, set about mating.