Saturday, November 5, 2011

Snowtober in Central Park

Trick or Sleet anyone? With the finish line of the New York City Marathon being just across from the Tavern on the Green, Sunday is a big day on the Central Park calender. Last Sunday Central Park was dressed up as midwinter for Halloween but the leaves on the tress didn't want to play along.

I've always been amazed at the view of pine trees in the snow but I don't think I've ever seen green broad leaves in a winter wonderland snow before. Please enjoy these best sixty-two pictures of a perfect Sunday in the Park. Note: Since little pictures are not much fun, you can click on any one of the photos in this chronology for a better view.

Snowtober or Ocsnowber, whatever they were calling it, the record October snow came on Saturday. I'm always big on capturing the "seldom seen," so I spent Sunday in Central Park hoping to collect a few memories of the occasion. The best time for photos would have been on Saturday, when the fresh snow was clinging to the green leaves. At the first sign of light in the sky I attempted to drive down to Van Cortlandt Park for some snow photos but I could not get out of my complex. The hill down from my complex was rated double black diamond with car accident obstacles while the other street out was blocked by a downed tree. But I did get one shot of red maple and white snow.

On Sunday the road was clear. I was very happy to be getting out from my internet, cable television and telephone free apartment. So happy that I was snapping away from the moment I got out of the garage. Also seldom seen, a self-portrait.

With an estimated one thousand downed trees in Central Park, it was not all good views. Central park has taken several beatings in recent years because of freak storms. I was still very excited to get there and to be seeing something different for a change. Coming up to my favorite wall I had no intentions to capture devastation.

Usually this West Side playground at 96th street is packed solid with laughing children on a sunny October day. Odd that the snowed in water fountain was not yet turned off in this winter scene and a little snow scooping offered a drink of water.

Now which way should I go in a big park that was melting fast? On Friday October 29th, before the snowfall, I did the north end. That is the side of the park that is seldom seen by tourist.

So I headed south to more familiar grounds. My first stop was the snow scene at Gothic Bridge. Did you know that ever bridge in Central Park is unique?

All of the Central Park bridges are unique but the three Calvert Vaux bridges that lead to the reservoir seem to be playing on a common theme. All three are cast iron and while the other bridges of Central Park all have names, the reservoir bridges at West 86th Street and East 85th Street went without names. This one that crosses the bridle path at West 94th Street also tried to remain anonymous but the people named it “The Gothic Bridge.”

Followed by a walk around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, mostly to make sure the many great cherry trees along the jogging path had survived. It seems like only yesterday when "the Godfather of the U.S. paparazzi culture" was in the news for stalking the American royalty of Jackie O during her morning jogs. That was followed by the bridge and tunnel crowd commuting to Central Park for weekend runs around the reservoir. Walking or running this large oval is heaven in April.

The Great Lawn was still white. It was just over thirty-five years ago that 500,000 people came to that lawn to see Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel reunited. What a great show!

Castle Belvedere that was Simon and Garfunkel's background until the light faded and is the source of Central Park weather forecasts, was already melting down.

Should you ever find yourself wedged between the place where Simon and Garfunkel had their historic rooftop setting and the Belvedere, the Belgian waffles are definitely worth the wait and the young servers have already heard plenty about the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.

Sunday brunch and yet another "seldom seen" self-portrait.

Moving right along, a love struck Romeo was still wearing a bit of snow.

Along the path to Shakespeare’s Garden, a short walk past the Delacorte Theater where “Measure for Measure” and “All's Well That Ends Well” were preformed under the stars this summer, there is usually chrysanthemums poking through the picturesque fences in late October.

I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures of those fences. The new green text message signs, not so much.

It looks like the season at Shakespeare’s Garden has ended now too.

But the Swedish Cottage seemed happy in the snow.

Taking a noontime break at the northern entrance to the Olmsted & Vaux fantasy forest, the woodlands that have become an important part of LGBT history. From here you can view the northwest cove of the lake. The cove is called called Bank Rock Bay. From this view to the right is the last leg of tomorrow’s marathon and the path to Strawberry Fields. Onward to the left where a forest was designed and engineered as a change of pace from the surrounding formal settings of the park.

Ramble on, the Ramble is no longer the photographer's paradise it once was. Now that the most efficient government agency in history has gotten there, the crew that erects those fences in Central Park that are meant to keep visitors from ever walking on anything but blacktop have made it to the Ramble. Sure the undergrowth seems happy but fences in a forest? Here is one over the fence view.

And another that almost has the forest feel of the good old Ramble.

The view from inside the Ramble, looking out towards the Ladies Pavilion Peninsula with Columbus Circle in the background.

The tip of that same rocky outcrop is almost lost in the western in the view from the Bank Rock Bay Bridge out of the Ramble.

Walking south along the western edge of the lake.

And the view of the Bank Rock Bay Bridge from the rocks tht jut out from the Ladies Pavilion.

Here is the Ladies Pavilion.

Continuing south.

To look back at the rocks of the Ladies Pavilion from another shelter.

72nd Street and Central Park West with the home of Yoko Ono that was also the setting for "Time and Again" in the background.

This is the Path to Strawberry Fields. Usually I don't leave the park without a shot of the Imagine mosaic but it was too crowded there on Sunday.

The southern edge of the lake, perhaps the nicest view in New York City.

The Bow Bridge.

That was chosen by New Yorkers as the most romantic spot in New York City.

Walking along to the Bethesda Terrace, my favorite place in New York City.

"Smile you're on Candid Camera." I don't know this couple. I just saw them on the steps to the Bethesda Terrace. I think they made both a great couple and a pretty good photographic composition. Earth tone steps on the bottom, sky blue granite up top, even the pigeon seemed impressed.

Also seldom seen, a diary within a diary. Right across from the steps, the Angle Bethesda was posing for wedding photos, Angels in America. Interested in the significance of The Angel of the Water attending that ceremony? Then give Vows Taken Before an Angel

The Mums on the Mall got crunched by the snow.

And the Gorilla on the Mall did not appreciate my joke one bit.

But I was very happy to see that the American Elms of the Poets Walk seemed to have survived the storm.

And while the caution tape didn't hold up too long, Balto was still guarding the bridge.

I finally made it to the East Side. The southeastern side of the park took the most damage from the snowstorm.

This was the only view I could get of the most whimsical feature of Central Park that has been entertaining children of all ages since 1935. The famous Delacorte Music Clock with hippo violinist, tambourine playing bear, penguin drummers, goat playing the pipes and a kangaroo horn section with a goat playing the pipes was off limits on Sunday. Along with the Central Park Zoo, the Children's Zoo and the Armory, the animal musicians were closed to the public on Sunday because of dangerous trees.

You think New Yorkers have small apartments? Well get a load of our snowmen!

The south end of the Park in the late afternoon sun.

Zoomed out to include the pond and western skyline.

The Gapstow Bridge.

So nice that I'll post it twice.

Check out the rear view too.

Well this is New York, we are big on modern art.

No wait now I get it, from the front view it turns out to be a Halloween Snow Ghoul.

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