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Code for Books 2, 3, and 4 Royal Sliders

<h3>Book Three Images</h3>

<h3>Book Three Images</h3>

<h3>Book Four Images</h3>

Central Park Zoo: a Stroll on the Wild Side


The newly renovated sea lion pool has a nice view of midtown Manhattan. Kind of like looking at floating icebergs, no?

One of the reasons I deliberately avoided mentioning the Central Park Zoo, both in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, and thus far in my blog, is that it wasn’t a part of Olmsted and Vaux’s original design. Like the sculptures in the Mall and the baseball fields scattered throughout the rest of the park, the zoo simply happened.

It all began when some people ‘donated’ some swans and a bear to the city, and the poor creatures ended up being housed in the Arsenal Building inside the park on 64th and Fifth.

Animals must attract other animals, because the menagerie expanded until the ‘zoo’ itself was eventually expanded in 1934 with a series of new buildings centered around a naturalistic sea lion pool.

Which brings me to the second reason that I didn’t mention the Central Park Zoo till now. The ‘1934 Zoo’, as it is called, was inhumanely cramped and, by the time I visited it in the 1960s, fallen into horrible disrepair.

I felt so sorry for the animals that, after visiting it once, I never wanted to go back.

The zoo was later renovated and reopened in 1988 with more accommodating and naturalistic environments.

Trellised, vine-clad, glass-roofed pergolas link the three major exhibit areas—tropic, temperate and polar— housed in discreet new buildings of brick trimmed with granite, masked by vines. The zoo is home to an indoor rain forest, leaf-cutter ant colony, a chilled penguin house and currently unoccupied polar bear pool.

Children's Zoo

The renovated Children’s Zoo…where the real wild animals are pushed around by their parents in strollers.

In a city where everyone lives in ‘cages’, so to speak, I suppose I shouldn’t feel too sorry for these animals who are fed and housed in relative comfort for ‘free’, but I do, knowing that they would probably feel more at home and, hence, happier competing for space in the wild!





Best Spots in the Park for…

sledding in Central Park

Sledding in Central Park back in the good old days

Sometimes you only have time to do one thing in the park, so it’s nice to know where to go when time is tight.

Here’s my personal list:

One of the best spots for sledding is the Pilgrim Statue (a nice-sized slope without any boulders in the way).

Probably the most scenic and comfortable places for a picnic (assuming it isn’t fenced off to protect the grass) is the Sheep Meadow.

The best place to catch a view of the entire city is Belvedere Castle.

The only place to go swimming is Lasker’s Pool (also a skating rink in the winter) in the north end of the park.

The best place to go skating is Wollman’s Skating Rink (fantastic view of the surrounding city); the other is Lasker’s rink in the north end of the park.

The best place to go jogging is around the reservoir (easy on the feet and great views of the water and the city).

The best place to get lost is in the Ramble.

The best place to rent a boat is the Loeb Boathouse next to the Ramble Lake (lots of coves and places to anchor along its shore).

The best place to enjoy a meal is the Loeb Boathouse, though the Tavern on the Green is nice at night, assuming you can afford the prices, and there’s a cafe at the north end of the Sheep Meadow with some decent sandwiches.

The best place to watch street performers is on and around the Bethesda Terrace.

sledding in Central Park

…and now

The best place to relax is anywhere in the park!

Oh, and the best young adult story that includes all of these locations is Central Park Story.

Mount St. Vincent Convent: Where Olmsted and His Family Once Lived

Mount St. Vincent

Mount St. Vincent circa 1861 when the Olmsteds occupied the buildings

Before there was a park, there were nuns.

In 1847 the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul arrived in Manhattan and opened the Academy of St. Vincent, a school and convent, in what is now the northeastern section of Central Park (near 109th Street).

The nuns left when the land was requisitioned by the city for the park, but their buildings remained until 1881 when they finally burned down.

During the Civil War, it was used as a military hospital. After the war, it became a hostelry and restaurant. For a brief time, at the outset of the Civil War, Frederick Law Olmsted and his family called it home.

Imagine the views of the area they must have seen from their windows!