Finding Peace in Central Park

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As we turned the corner, big billowy trees came into view in between concrete and glass skyscrapers. My 11 year old son exclaimed, “Mom, I think those are the first trees we have seen since we got here!”

We were on our third harried day in New York City. I have wanted to go to NYC for as long as I can remember but the city has always eluded me. We were often only a few hours away from the city but weren’t able to visit for one reason or another. Thanks to a gift certificate that I won from a Passports with Purpose raffle, I had an excuse to plan a trip. After much debate, I decided to bring my son with me so that we could spend some time together, just the two of us. The first two days were spent battling crowds, standing in lines, and just feeling overwhelmed.

On day 3, our plan was to cut through Central Park on our way to the American Museum of Natural History. My son had his heart set on seeing “Dum Dum Gimme Gum Gum,” or rather the moai statue in the Margaret Mead Hall of Pacific Peoples.

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Turning the corner and seeing the trees come into view surprised us. We hadn’t realized that there were not many trees or bushes in sight in this concrete jungle until we saw the tree canopy from a block away. Walking into the park, we both took a deep breath. I could feel my shoulders loosen and my breathing slow. I could see my son perk up a little despite the heat and the fact that we had clocked thousands of steps over the past few days. With every step we took, I could feel the stress of the last few days fade away.

We wandered the walking paths, stopping to rest on a bench whenever we saw fit. We stopped at the model sailboats to inquire about renting one. We learned that the boats are powered by wind and since the wind wasn’t moving we decided to continue walking. We stopped at the Boathouse to check out the food offerings. They offer both a sit down restaurant and a counter service. We saw bridges, flowing water, birds, and bikes.

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Suddenly, we were at the front steps of the museum as cars honked through the lights and people pushed past. After viewing the museum exhibits, we decided to go back through Central Park rather than walk the quicker route along the outside of it.

The wind had picked up so we ambled back to the boats where we rented a controller for 30 minutes at the cost of $11. When my son’s time was up, we continued through the park. Both of us slowed our pace and I realized that we were trying to avoid having to step back into the shadow of the skyscrapers. We grudgingly arrived at the park exit where we were going to continue to Serendipity 3 to grab a frozen hot chocolate.

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As we were enjoying our frozen hot chocolate, I realized that we had spent more time in Central Park then we have anywhere else in New York. We would have spent all week there if we could have. My son declared it the best part of New York. It is a gem in the middle of concrete rocks.