Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott–Yes, You Can Tell a Book by its Cover

In the case of Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe, you can pretty much tell a book by its cover. Yes, it’s about heroic knights in the Middle Ages just as Christopher notices when he first picks up the book in his English class. Of course, there’s a bit more pizazz to the story of Ivanhoe, especially if you’ve […]

The Fine Art of Making a Spitball Cannon

There are several different ways to make a spitball cannon. The one the kids in Central Park Story use is made out of paper so the evidence can be destroyed the minute the teacher turns, but here’s a video that will show you how to make one using two plastic pen barrels instead. Since you’ll be using […]

Crushes on Teachers–A Rite of Passage in Grade School

I once had a crush on my French teacher in junior high. Maybe it was the exotic mix of a foreign language with the innocence of youth, but it almost seems a given that kids fall in love with their foreign language teachers more than any other. I can’t remember her name to be honest (Mme ?). I was […]

Ah! Those Magnificent Elms!

As an artist brought up on a farm, Christopher Middleton would naturally notice the elms on his very first day in the city. Not so, when it came to my own first year in the Big A. Like most kids, I took them for granted even when my mother pointed them out (she grew up in Boston […]

Christopher’s ‘Invisible’ Apartment

I had fun choosing a location for the apartment where Christopher lives in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story. I wanted it to be near to where I have his Aunt B run an antique doll house store, but I also wanted it within walking distance of the Bethesda Fountain where most of […]

King Jagiello of Poland (aka, the Dude with the Twin Swords)

One of the most impressive statues in Central Park is that of Jagiello, King of Poland. Encountering its imposing presence along one the park’s circuitous paths, it’s hard not to imagine it leaping off its pedestal and charging through the forest after a dragon! Once a part of  the Polish pavilion at the New York […]

What the Heck Is a Cockatrice, Anyway?!

I might also have asked, ‘And who thought this crazy creature up in the first place?’ (see photo to the right) According to the dictionary, a cockatrice is a dragon with the head of a rooster, the body of a snake, and the wings of a bat–or as Christopher in Central Park Story said when […]

Birding in Central Park? I Admit I Used to do it Myself.

Okay. I admit it. I used to be a birder just like Jennifer in Central Park Story Book One. I was so into birding that, by the age of 13, I had a huge (by my standards) library of bird books, several pair of binoculars, and a camera attached to my 80-power telescope so I […]

The Old Croton Reservoir in front of Belvedere Castle that Christopher Sees (or Doesn’t)

The pond in front of Belvedere Castle was once part of a much larger body of water called the Croton Reservoir. If you look in the upper left hand corner of the photo, you will see several baseball diamonds which is as far as the original reservoir extended. Even this wasn’t enough to quench the […]

Belvedere Castle…Is It Really a Castle?

For those of you who’ve never been inside a real castle, Belvedere Castle is a treat. It’s not a real castle, per se, but rather what was called a ‘folly’ in the Victorian era. Follies were meant to resemble the real deal but were usually scaled down and made to look mysterious. Their purpose was to […]