One thing I learned from day one in New York City, is that you walk – A LOT. But with everything there is to see, you don’t notice how much you’re walking until you fall into your bed at the end of the night.

D A Y • T W O

Have you ever of Eloise? If you haven’t, let me explain. She is one of New York City’s most mischievous (and fictitious) residents. Eloise is a young girl who lives in the “room of the tippy-top floor”, with her pug dog Weenie and her turtle Skiperdee, in the Plaza Hotel of New York City. I read this book when I was younger with my mom, as did my sisters. So it made sense that a visit to The Plaza Hotel was part of our trip.

Unfortunately, The Plaza Hotel was roped off for actual guests (not us measly tourists) once you entered the front doors. The hospitality-nerd in myself was a little disappointed that I couldn’t explore a beautiful, historic hotel. However, I do understand the concern for their guests’ privacy and to maintain the chaos of nosy tourists bothering their experience. Maybe one day in the future, I’ll stay at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, walk past the rope, and explore the building as a guest.

My dad takes food very seriously – especially street food. After we went on the shortest self-guided Plaza tour, we met him outside the hotel next to a hot dog cart, before entering Central Park. It was a beautiful day, but it was SO HOT. And I made the mistake of wearing all black. Thankfully, Central Park has several benches and shady spots where we could relax and cool off for a few moments. The views from wherever we stopped were so incredible – we couldn’t stop taking pictures.

We made our way through the park to New York’s very own Central Park Zoo. The Central Park Zoo is a part of a system of four zoos, and the New York Aquarium. It actually began as a menagerie, which is defined as a collection of exotic animals kept for display, later becoming the second publicly owned zoo in the United States, behind the Philadelphia Zoo. There are three main areas – tropic, temperate, and polar. The only area outside this predetermined division is the pool for sea lions, which we were able to see as soon as we walked through the gates.

I’m originally from St. Louis. Why is this relevant? Well, I had a lot of expectations walking into the Central Park Zoo. I am used to a free zoo, located on 90 acres of land, in comparison to the 6 acres that the Central Park Zoo is located. There are about three-million visitors each year for the over 18,000 animals in the St. Louis Zoo, and I think the Central Park Zoo had maybe 100 animals. Some of my favorite memories are from the St. Louis Zoo, from Discovery Corner to the unique Railroad. I guess you could say that I expected a place like New York City to blow me away with their zoo, but I was a little underwhelmed. I will say however, that it was worth being able to say that I went to the Central Park Zoo and getting to spend that time with my family.

After our walk through the Central Park Zoo, we stopped by the memorial to John Lennon in Central Park, called Strawberry Fields. My dad is huge Beatles fan, so this tribute to John Lennon and his work with Strawberry Fields Forever, was a must-see for him. As we approached the memorial, it became very quiet. Almost silent. We found out shortly that Strawberry Fields was a designated Quiet Zone in the park. It was beautiful, even more so because almost everyone was respectful to the quiet. The mosaic was larger than I thought it would be and this part of the park was incredibly shaded, so the serenity was easily kept. As we walked away from the memorial, we decided on our next stop, which was at the opposite end of Central Park. How were we going to get there quickly?  Pedicab. It was really fun. But long story short, I’m very grateful for a dad who knows how to bargain with Pedicab drivers.

to be continued


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