Sunday, April 17, 2011

5th Avenue Fun!

Hi everyone,

When classes let out on Friday, I decided to visit the Central Park Zoo. I wanted to see if I could spot Amaya, the zoo's red panda. And, sure enough, there she was all nestled up in a tree! I was thrilled to finally be able to see the animal Inky has talked so fondly about.

At the zoo entrance, I happened upon a magnolia tree - isn't it beautiful? I love how magnolia blossoms make everything around them smell nice and sweet, even in such a big, crowded (and sometimes smelly) city like New York.

Next, I stopped by FAO Schwarz for a bit. I'm sure everyone - even if you've never been to New York - has heard of this store. It's only the greatest toy store ever! It's home to the infamous larger-than-life piano keyboard that you might've seen Tom Hanks play in the movie, Big. The store was established in 1862!!

The guard at the store entrance was kind enough to pose for a picture with me. Isn't he silly? The puppets on his hands reminded me a lot of life back at Fair Hollow since Fair Hollow has quite the collection of puppets. I was also reminded of all of the puppet shows Maman and Papa took Juliette and me to when we were little.

I walked several blocks more until I reached Rockefeller Center. Stopping to watch the ice skaters for a bit, I thought of my best friend from school, Nathalie. Nathalie is passionate about skating and is always trying to get me on the ice. Of course, I'm just as uncoordinated in ice skates as I am in ballet shoes, but I do appreciate others who actually can skate.

Finally, I stopped at AGPNY to meet Kanani Akina, our Girl of the Year for 2011. It's not a trip to New York City unless it includes a stop at AGPNY, now is it?

I really liked this neat photo op they had set up for Kanani. It makes me long to visit Hawaii for real (but I'd still choose to go back home to Paris over a trip to Hawaii!).

Kanani and I spent several minutes talking about France and Hawaii. I think I managed to convince her that she must visit France for herself one day. I also asked if she'd like to enroll at a school called Fair Hollow School for Girls, but she politely declined. She already missed Hawaii terribly and was anxious to go back. I can't say that I blame her!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Je me sens comme une princesse...

Salut mes amis,

Je me sens comme une princesse parce que j'ai visité un palais le dernier week-end.

I feel like a princess because I visit
ed a castle this past weekend - Belvedere Castle, that is! Belvedere Castle is located in Central Park. I've been wanting to see New York City's own castle since seeing several films in which it is featured in.

But, first, I wanted to stop by L'Ambassade de France Services Culturels; that is, the French embassy's cultural center.

Seeing the sign written in French, as well as le drapeau français, made me feel more homesick. Je me sens comme je veux rentrer en France! Anyone want to buy me a plane ticket?

Then, I started to head in the direction of Belvedere Castle. Passing the pretty cherry blossoms behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I lingered at Turtle Pond for a bit before proceeding on with my walk. Finally, I found Belvedere Castle! It's on top of the hill along the south shore of Turtle Pond.

It was, to say the least, a bit tricky to find, but it was well worth the effort. Isn't it a beautiful castle?

Belvedere Castle, meaning "lookout castle," is located on Vista Rock, overlooking Turtle Pond and the Great Lawn. It was designed in 1865 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould to be a tourist attraction and nothing else. However, from 1919 to the present, it has been used to determine wind speed and direction and to record rainfall amounts.

It was restored in 1983, becoming the residence of the Henry Luce Nature Observatory. You can find skeletons and papier mâché birds inside the observatory, among other things, and the top of the castle is a favorite location among bird-watchers.

From the top of the castle, you can also see the skyline of the Upper East Side, the Great Lawn, and Turtle Pond:

After taking in the view from Belvedere Castle (and the gorgeous spring sun!), I walked south along the pat through the Ramble, a woodsy part of the park. Huge boulders are everywhere, and I discovered that they are rather fun to climb on. (You can see me climbing on a boulder in the top right corner of this blog entry.)

Coming out of the Ramble onto Bethesda Terrace, I found the Bethesda Fountain. Bethesda Fountain was constructed from 1859 - 1864. The focal point of the fountain is an 8 foot bronze angel, designed by Emma Stebbins in 1868 (and unveiled in 1873). Ms. Stebbins was actually the first woman to receive a public commission for a major work of art in New York City, something I later learned after a bit of internet research.

Leaving Bethesda Terrace, I crossed the Mall, a promenade featuring a beautiful lawn of trees. Reaching Balto, I stopped for a bit. The Balto statue has been a favorite of the city children since its unveiling in December 1925. I wanted take a photo with him, despite having to wait in line to do so.

The statue was created by Frederick George Richard Roth, a Brooklyn-born sculptor who wanted to create a tribute to the famous husky. Balto is famous because he was one of the dogs who traveled 674 miles through a 1925 Nome, Alaska blizzard to deliver medicine.

On the way home, I decided to stop at the Empire State Building. I thought about going up to the top to await the love of my life, but then I realized that neither Justin Bartha nor Guillaume Canet know I'm alive. So, I proceeded to do the next best thing - I headed back home to watch An Affair To Remember and Sleepless in Seattle!

Ton amie,


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