Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…
On our 2011 vacation we saw maybe 5% of the total square footage of Central Park, if that. We saw a feature or two, but were so drained by the time we got there that the oppressive summer heat burned away the last of our energy reserves along with any drive for exploration. After we finished with St. Paul’s Chapel, we decided another, longer tour through Central Park was in order. It wasn’t our first choice, but it was an inevitable choice.
My original plan after St. Paul’s was to return to the Brooklyn Bridge and, instead of gazing upon it from blocks away as we did last time, actually approach and maybe even walk on it, in accordance with my wife’s previously thwarted wishes. We headed over to the Fulton Street station, a relatively new building that opened in November 2014 and still bears much of the original stainless steel sheen.
I’d hoped to take us on the A or C train to the High Street station in Brooklyn, which looked closer to the Bridge than any subway stops on the Manhattan side. We learned the bad news after we’d gone to the trouble of descending below street level: both the A and C trains were out of service. Far as we could tell, they were never in service the entire week of this trip. I spent a few minutes trying to work out another route, but Anne — somewhat frustrated, and I don’t blame her — recommended we go do Central Park instead. It was a good suggestion, but Manhattan’s subway tinkering effectively axed Brooklyn Bridge from our 2016 itinerary altogether. Something else to look forward to on our third trip someday, I suppose.
I’m struggling to retrace the trains we took from there, but we found our way on wheels up to the 59th Street vicinity near the southeast corner of Central Park and walked into a surprise street fair. It’s not been uncommon on past vacations for us to run across town festivals we had no idea were scheduled the same time as our visit. Go figure.
Central Park came a few blocks later. And thus our long, long walk began to see numerous artworks we missed last time, to saunter around new plains and paths, to chart the inviting topography, to cross a few must-see bits off Anne’s wish list, and to people-watch in general.
None of these were the features Anne wanted to see most. We’ll get to those in our next chapter.
All told, our Central Park walk took us from Grand Army Plaza at 59th and 5th to just behind the Met at 81st Street. If this winds up being my final MCC entry, it’ll be because I don’t think I ever told Anne or my son exactly how far we’d walked, and reading this sentence first thing in the morning will be the first time she learns just how far and how hard I pushed us, which would explain why we were all near death by the time we left the Park.
(Hi, honey! You still love me, right?)
To be continued!
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