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!