Life of Late ~ 9.15.17

In all honesty I think this should sometimes be called “Sh*t Kaitlin Says.” For example there are times when what I say I think is smart, witty, and sometimes downright hilarious. Even if I am the only one who thinks this, smashing success. Just kidding. Sort of.  {FYI today is a bit of a sassy and sarcastic post so take it all with a grain of salt.}

Then there are times when it’s like “whoa please tell me you didn’t just say that?”  Last week at Questival? I really don’t think much of what came out of my mouth should be digested or recalled – nothing terrible but more or less “insert face palm emoji” and remind myself to filter.  What I really need to do is have a tattoo on my arm with the line from Hamilton where Burr advices Hamilton to “talk less, smile more”.

You could consider this like a “last night conversation hangover”. Similar to the reflection you have after maybe making some questionable decisions after a night of no sleep or a few fun drinks. Not that I’ve ever been there…I mean deciding to jump in the Santa Clara fountain multiple times senior year? Not sure why that seemed so amazing at the time. Maybe just Miss goody two shoes living on the edge.

So I apologize for what I said with little to no sleep.

Maybe it’s a fear of silence? But then that’s not entirely true because when you find a friend that can just sit with you in silence or walk somewhere without feeling the need to bring up every piece of small talk – that’s brilliant.

Anyways, last weekend I participated in an “Amazing Race” spinoff sort of deal called Questival.  This was created and hosted by Cotopaxi, a company that creates innovative outdoors equipment and experiences.  It also has a llama as its logo so that was a hook, line, and sinker for yours truly.  (note: no clue where I picked up this obsession with llamas and alpacas).  Meghan and I joined a team from November Project Los Angeles where she is a bi-monthly participant 😉 (her words not mine but you’re welcome Meghan).  I on the other hand am hoping to go a bit more frequently, of course pending my exhaustion from Tuesday night speed work.  And it seems I’ve moved off topic again.  Back to Questival!

Our team was a group of folks who may or may not have met one another.  I had only had met 2 of the other NP_LAX folks previously (including that morning) so it was similar to this last season’s Amazing Race where teammates were brand-spanking new to one another.

The kickoff “party” was held at the Los Angeles Historic State Park, an expansive new field with some lawn games (i.e. corn hole and mega Connect 4), food trucks, swag truck (where of course I got sidetracked at), and our included Cotopaxi swagpacks or backpacks.  Unfortunately there was false advertisement that Miguel the llama would be present but when I found out this was NOT an actual llama and instead just a costumed person, my disappointment lessened. Once we were at the venue we could start checking off pre-event challenges but had to wait until 7:30 until we could submit the main challenges.   When the clock turned 7:30, we were off and running like a pack of llamas.

On Friday teams took pictures by the Broad, grabbed dinner at Philippe’s, went through Olvera Street and I did a mini rendition of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dive’s.  We split up for a bit to divide and conquer only to find out that EVERY SINGLE video must have the totem (flag) in it.  So, when the guys got back around 12:30, we re-filmed a few of the outstanding challenges that we had practiced.  Around 1:15/1:30a we called it quits and tried to rack up a few hours of sleep.  When our alarms went off at 4:30 I don’t think we were entirely ready to go (again, let’s re-review, I apologize for what may have been said while I was exhausted).

That morning we hiked in Griffith Park, attempted to see the sunrise but failed since it was foggy, Jonathan ate a beetle and we picked up a few bags of trash.  Crysti and I biked 8ish speedy miles along the LA River Trail and the guys made a few goofy videos at a local diner.  I think the best part of this team was that each of us carried a different skillset and were willing to jump in with a variety of tasks.  Eating a beetle?  Yeah, I would so NOT would have volunteered for that one.   We took a picture on the Hollywood walk of stars and wrapped up the event at the park underneath the Hollywood(land) sign by 7pm.  There really wasn’t an afterparty present and most folks were either ready for bed or to go out and hit the town.  You can probably guess which route I went.

Highlights from the day included Meghan walking around in an Olaf costume, dancing along the Venice boardwalk, tai chi on a nearby wall, and Nick eating a head of cauliflower while wearing a dino costume and getting the absolute best stares from Griffith Observatory tourists.  We also got to run through the Batman cave and spend some time in Venice Beach.  Towards the end of the day we visited the LACMA and I attempted to help complete the challenge “give a stranger flowers” by picking flowers off of a bush.  In retrospect that was not the best plan and it backfired twice.  Jonathan came it to save the day and made a new friend from Japan.

 

There were two other November Project teams running around town but it was our team that maintained our place in the top 10 throughout the entire 24 hours!  In the end we got 6th, which was a very valiant effort for a team that didn’t know one another and forgot the totem in a few too many videos.  I definitely think our team laughed more.

Would I do it again?  Oh most definitely.  In fact, I might make my own little version to help check off the murals and hikes that we didn’t get to the first time around!  Until then, carpe diem my friends.

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“Life is short.  Break the rules, forgive quickly…laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile.” Mark Twain

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What’s Good LA?

Hello, it’s me.  A girl trying to call herself a blogger who is also now back to her base in California and not sure what to do about a weekly post.  That’s not entirely true as I always seem to have ideas bouncing around – I even have oodles of ideas for throwback NYC posts.  I simply just don’t know when to dedicate the time to write.  It might help if I didn’t scroll on my phone at night and instead drafted up a post or two but alas, I’m only human and still breaking into a routine.

It’s only been two weeks but I’m still smiling from the love that I received my last couple of weeks in NYC.  I saw my favorite people, ran my favorite routes, ate some fun foods, and just left on good terms, which is important to me.  A lot of people asked whether I would miss New York and if I was sad to be leaving.  Well, yes I was sad to leave but I was excited to create a new life, find myself in a new role and new job, and explore the west coast.  We cross paths with people and live in places that have a profound impact on our lives but nothing lasts forever.

^^ Going to miss all of these gals + more people unpictured.  Beyond grateful for the surprise picnic or surprise guests because let’s be honest, I’m very difficult to surprise.  Somehow I’m just naturally curious and figure things out.  But I did not know that friends like Ali would show up and it meant the world to me, especially since she hasn’t been feeling super hot 😦 . Also make note of her parting gift – a stuffed animal llama who together we named Ellie Fwelling.

So what’s been going on over the last couple of weeks? Driving, driving, running, and driving 😉 I really have no room to complain because that’s LA and I agreed to this situation. Plus, it’s sort of fun to create new routines and I’ve seen so much more of the landscape by taking side roads to and from the office.

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People love to talk about their commute.  I’ve just gravitated from the subway lingo to the freeways.  For example I used to take the L to the Q to NP and then A to the L home from work. Now I just use freeways and because I’m a Southern California gal, I put THE in front of every freeway name.  My commutes have varied every single day, twice a day but so far I’ve taken the 2 to the 110 to the 5 to the 10 and I’ve taken the side streets to the 110 to the 2.  Most mornings range around 70-90 minutes (sweet spot on 80-85) and unless I’m staying late (which may be the case), evening commutes are about the same.  Wednesday was skewed since I drove 20-30 minutes to November Project and then 15 to the gym and 45 to work.  The worst part of that one was that I couldn’t find an accessible coffee shop on my side of the street.  Every time I passed a Starbucks or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, there was either no parking space or it was on the other side of the street.

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^^ Long run views along the coast in Santa Barbara.  I’m blessed to have family that live in such beautiful places and now that I’m back with access to a car, you’ll find me living it up by the water or the mountains.

Podcasts – Do you ever find yourself annoyed by some voices early in the morning?  See, I have a not so “sunshine and butterflies” attitude at times 😉 Anyways, I finally discovered Mike&Mike while living in NYC.  They host from 6a-9a EST and it was perfect for walking to the gym or even the occasional solo morning run.  Well, now I discovered that their podcast is available that same day and because it’s in podcast form, it has WAY fewer ads (condensing an hour show into 36 minutes).  Winning.

I’m going to be so sad when it ends in a couple of months 😦 . It seriously makes my morning commute enjoyable and I like to think I’m gaining retaining sports knowledge.

I did test out the TODAY SHOW on SiriusXM but unfortunately for them, they will not gain a loyal member since I cannot stand the reception cutting in and out every other sentence.   So, any suggested podcasts?  I’ve gotten “The Daily” and been recommended Headspace.  I have yet to actually download/purchase those but any tips would be greatly appreciated.  Something interesting and potentially educational?  Or just entertaining.

Social Media – I used to be WAY better about responding to people via text message.  It really only has been a week or so but I’m finding that it’s a work in progress.  Anyone who has messaged me and I haven’t responded in my timely fashion, my apologies.  I’m doing my best to commute close to 2-3 hours and that means no texting.

^^ Labor Day Weekend adventures on Mount Baldy.  I’m debating a full post (<< something I say a lot) but if you want the short and sweet version, it was a great hike but actually taking the right path would have been helpful.  It took us 5 moving hours to cover 9ish miles and we definitely got lost.  The picture on the right?  We were totally not supposed to be scaling down that but had already committed.  Yolo?

Blogging – I’ve gotten a few questions about blogging in the last week or so.  I’m not sure where I stand.  I love Instagram and I really don’t want to be on my computer outside of work hours.  It’s bad enough I still sit in front of a screen for 8 or so hours and then sit in the car for upwards of 3 hours a day.  But, I do have some fun thoughts for posts and maybe when I get my personal computer back on wifi (<< another problem) I’ll throw some up there.

This weekend I signed up for a 24 hour adventure race called Questival, brought to you by Cotopaxi, an adventure gear brand with the appropriate moto “Gear For Good”.  Even better and quite possibly how I became attracted to the brand in the first place is that their logo is a LLAMA!!!  Now don’t ask me why I’m obsessed with llamas because I have no clue.  They are just so darn funny and I’m sorry if we as a society mix up alpacas with llamas.  The entire animal group is a hoot.  (Shout out to everyone who has sent me funny llama pictures and clothing ideas with the llama logo. Special shoutout to Ali who gifted me Ellie Fwuelling).

But back to this festival thing.  It looks extremely cool – you and up to 5 other teammates adventure around your city completing challenges that could include anything adventurous to philanthropic.  My only hesitation is the sleep aspect since I 1) don’t function well on little sleep and 2) know little sleep will affect me beyond Saturday and instead into the next week.  Time to live a little and suck it up and have some fun (but of course be safe!  Cotopaxi will not send out any notifications between 1a-5a but I think my sister and I will be a little generous with those hours…say 11:30p-6a?)

Other than that, I’m getting into the swing of running, making my way at the November Project LAX Tribe, and hanging onto my sister’s running club.  I’m serious when I say hanging on because a large majority of those folks are speeeedy.  Maybe if I hang on long enough, I can PR 😉

Alright, that’s all for now but I hope to put together some posts about NYC, some of my favorite food spots as well as odds and ends from California.

“Do what you love and love what you do”

Life of Late ~ July 2017

Let’s all have the mind-blowing realization that we are pretty much halfway through summer.  The heat and humidity have rolled in full force and we are about 7 weeks away from the start of football season.  For some reason football and fall are synonymous with one another, even if it doesn’t really cool out on the west coast.  I can recall going from cross country meets or soccer matches to football games, sweating through every single item that I owned.  Ah the good times. 😉

July has been a blast thus far filled with beach days, rainy days, and time spent in the park.   This week has actually been the first week in a long time that I was in the office ALL 5 days.  Between various summer Fridays and other PTO days, I’ve enjoyed my casual 4, 3, and even 2 day weeks!  I’m gallivanting down to D.C. this weekend, entering the swamp, and expecting to sweat out half my body weight.  Pretty much like the episode of “I Love Lucy” where she tries to steam down her weight.  Yep, totally safe.

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Current Workouts:

  • Back on the November Project schedule.  Maybe I’m not hitting up every workout but it’s good to see some friends in the morning and I really love the new co-leader’s enthusiasm.
  • SPIN!  After watching the triathlon last week I was inspired to get back on the bike.  It’s definitely healthier to balance with running and so back to some Equinox classes and Soul Cylce I go.
  • Water aerobics – Because when you don’t schedule any sort of trips on your three day weekends, you use Friday to attend water aerobics.
  • Barre + Weight Training Classes #blessed – Not sure why I need that hashtag but thank goodness for the wide array of classes offered at Equinox.  I’m trying to vary my workouts and increase those non-running muscles.  Or rather I’m trying to strengthen those muscles so when I catch the running and racing bug again, I’ll be stronger than before (here’s to hoping…)
  • Yoga and I JUST LEARNED CROW POSE!  It’s taken me about 3+ years to get there and I’ve told myself my bottom half is too heavy and I don’t have enough arm strength but I did manage to balance for about 2 seconds.  The excitement is real.  Now comes the trick to balancing for longer.

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The other day at track, I was thinking about what it means to feel normal.  Sure there is the mental side of things like going day to day with no stress or too much stress?  But then there is the physical side of things.  What does it mean to run without feeling like you are running through a swamp?  Or actually have boundless amounts of energy?  What did my legs feel like last year prior to marathon training?  Oh I could go on and on and on.  Just some food for thought.

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Currently Listening to…LOTS OF PODCASTS!:

  • Gatorade + Gimlet “The Secret to Victory” – My friend Cait works at Gimlet and got me hooked on this.  Using her own words because well, she works in marketing 😉
    •  The premiere episode of The Secret to Victory is live now! It’s Gimlet MediaGimlet Creative‘s first SPORTS POD with Gatorade. This week, we talk to Eli and Peyton Manning. But not about how Eli is still the only QB to beat Tom Brady in a Super Bowl (twice, sry), or how Peyton is considered by some to be one of the best QBs of all time (and pretty funny in those Papa John’s commercials). We talk to them, and even Archie about the disappointment of both of their rookie seasons with the NY Giants & Indianapolis Colts, and how it only fueled the fire that lead to greatness.  
  • Ali on the Run
  • ESPN’s 30 for 30 – This might be a direct competitor of the above Gimlet production but still cool stories and I’m an ESPN girl through and through.
  • Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield – Because we all need a little more of this in our lives.
  • Mike & Mike on ESPN – These guys have been my morning go to for the last few years.  Sometimes when I wake up and am running or getting to the gym, I just don’t care for music, so I turn to sport’s radio.  Anyways, turns out these guys are calling it quits or moving in different directions this year and I’ll miss their banter.

Currently Watching:

  • The Kennedy’s on Hulu and I AM FASCINATED!  With every episode, I spend at least an hour diving into articles online, Wikipedia pages (don’t judge, they are millennial’s form of a basic encyclopedia…) and more.  For some reason this part of time always draws me in.  If you have any good books on the subject, PLEASE comment!
  • Bring it On – Just a random movie I decided to watch this week.  I’d actually never seen it.
  • Seinfeld on Hulu.  This is another classic show that I’m working my way from start to finish.  The episodes are perfect for one or two before bed and more if I’m lazy.  My mom would go to bed watching them every night so I’ve heard some of the jokes but having lived in the city, now I really GET the humor.  Not only that but I picked up a ticket to go see Jerry Seinfeld next week!  Very pumped about that.
  • OJ Simpson Hearing – Yep, I was one of those people curious to hear what happened.  Oh! I was also watching the OJ Simpson: Made in America series on Hulu.  Wow I DEFINITELY think he is guilty and am also fascinated by these turn of events.

Currently Reading:

  • The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football – Yeah…I like sports.  It’s something I grew up around and something that brings me a lot of comfort.  That being said, this book is intriguing.  I didn’t realize the extent coaches and teams went to recruit and some of the behind the scenes action players got themselves into.
  • My Not So Perfect Life – Beach read for sure but also funny to compare with today’s social media obsession.
  • Stormy Weather – Not entirely what I was expecting but still a good historical read about Lena Horne, an American jazz and pop singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist.

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Tasting Table ~ “Modern Tiki Trends” ~ I’m all about hosting summer events and creating a theme around it.  Ok, maybe I’m just all about the IDEA of themed summer parties.  I don’t exactly have the space to host or even prep but having these Tiki Themed tips is giving me ideas… If you don’t know already, I’m obsessed with anything Hawaiian, tropical, or Polynesian.  Thank you Dole and Tasting Table for that.

 C’est Christine ~ “Notes on Defining Success” ~ Broken record but Christine always puts it so eloquently.  She referred to a quote that said “comparison is an addiction to losing”.  We compare compare compare and while this can be good to get yourself moving, ready to take action and work towards your dreams, it can also cause a bit of anxiety and disappointment.  People are always going to share their opinion with you – what you should do, where you should live, etc.  It’s up to you to define what makes you happy and stand by that decision.  I also loved how she ended the post, her goal to obtain “a more intentional type of success, a focus on thriving instead of just striving”

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^^ This was year #2 celebrating the 4th of July in the city and I have to say, rooftop game was on point.  I actually happened to have a 5-day weekend and really just bopped around town.  Sure I had my fair share of FOMO, looking at people’s outdoor pictures (even those who I didn’t know…lovely social media) but made the most of the weekend in my own special way.

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^^ On the hunt to sample all the classics in the city and this was a SUCCESS!  I actually made a pitstop after cheering folks in Take the Bridge: Manhattan Bridge edition.  We had gotten caught in an extreme downpour and while my friends decided to go home, I waltzed in and ordered a scoop of Taro while dripping water everywhere.  #runtoeat #eattorun

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^^ I tested out the talked about DAYBREAKER and have to say, I wasn’t that impressed.  Maybe I’m not a rave gal and can’t go for that DJ music at 7am in the morning but it wasn’t my jam.  I had woken up at 5:15 to make it for 6 am yoga (meh) and then packed as many snacks away to make up for the $35 fee.  #sorrynotsorry  In the end it was an experience and maybe would have been better if I had a huge group of friends there OR was completely solo and wanted to dance/jam out on my own.

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^^ What a view at last week’s NYC Triathlon.  I ran up with a friend, grabbed a bagel sandwich and cheered on some friends in the run portion of the race.  This is one race I had/have no FOMO over.  Swimming in the Hudson filled with dead bodies and sewage?  No thank you.  Even though I heard the 0.9-1 mi swim took people about 15 minutes to finish.  If you aren’t familiar with timing of swims, it takes me about 30 minutes in the pool to swim a mile.  Still, I don’t think I would commit to that water…

With these rambles complete, here’s to the weekend!

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“You are remembered for the rules you break” – Douglas MacArthur

Running the Cape ~ Ragnar Cape Cod

So, Ragnar Relay Cape Cod.  Where do I even begin?  The fact that I ate more bread in a four-hour period than I had in two weeks (I’m talking heavenly delicious blueberry granola bread from When Pigs Fly)?  Or that I got a total of 3 hours’ max of restless sleep?  Or that I had three of the hardest runs in my life (or last four years) and pretty much was crying on leg #3, my second 9.6 trek? Or that I had an absolute blast and couldn’t stop laughing the entire trip?

Yeah, I don’t know where to begin either so let’s just start at the beginning.  As I mentioned last Friday, I had completed a few of these Ragnar Relays in the past.  As a matter of fact, I completed the Wasatch Back Relay, which was the inaugural Ragnar (it started back in 2003).  When you tell someone that you are voluntarily paying to run between 15-22 miles and sit in a car for 24+ hours, they will probably think you are insane. I tried again and again to explain what would happen and why it was fun but it turns out you can’t comprehend what will go down on one of these trips – no matter how many posts and articles you read – until you have completed one.

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(Source)

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Life of Late ~ 5.12.17

As you read this I will be en route to start my 5th (or 6th since I can’t really remember) Ragnar Relay.  Back in high school and college I ran the annual Wasatch Back Relay with some friends in Utah.  Since that particular race happens in June, it was always a “fun” way to wrap up the school year.  I put that in quotes because most people would 1) call that insane and 2) it really is somewhat of a 24 hour suffer-fest.  My coworkers actually have started to just assume every PTO day I take or “vacation” is running related.  So far this year they aren’t wrong. 

Anyways, being a runner, I forgot what the pain was like and decided to do it again.  This time around has been a bit more intense since I’m actually helping the captains get ready for the race and let’s just say the universe was very against us running.  Between finding an additional 7 runners, runners dropping due to injury (total of 4 runners dropped), issues with driving insurance, and more injury, it’s been a fun time.  I don’t start until later this afternoon and then I will embark on a total of 22 miles (9 + 3 + 9).  Now if I don’t get kicked off the finish line (there’s a slight chance we may not make it based on timing…) it’ll be a grand success.  I’ll have to check back in next week to let you know the result.

As for now, sit back and enjoy this week’s edition of Life of Late.

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Secret Spots of Central Park

My name is Kaitlin and I’m a history geek.  I grew up with a family that would make a detour in order to tack on an extra Civil War Battlefield or museum so I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Right now I’m working my way through New York City via a walking tours book and some spontaneous running adventures.  November Project has been a huge help since the workouts range from Battery Park to deep into Harlem.  But the most wonderful place (biased) is that of Central Park and it turns out that there’s a lot more to this grand oasis than I ever realized!

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This amazing plot of land is smack dab in the middle of the concrete jungle, it happens to be the most visited park in the U.S., and it tops out as one of the most filmed locations in the world.  I can easily say it’s one of my favorite places in the city and I make sure to run some form of the loop at least 1-2x per week.  I also happen to work near the park but the reality of me leaving the office during the day is bleak…so I rely on the epic views we have from the kitchen and cafeteria.  Anyways, enough about me.  The important part is that this park should always be on your NYC bucket list whether you are here for the 1st or 100th time.

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Last Sunday my friend Maura and I went on a jogging tour of the park with a group called Jane’s Walks.  Maura tends to stick to the West Side Highway during her runs and as her time in New York is actually coming to a close (off to grand adventures in D.C.!!!!) so we thought it would be good to accomplish some bucket list items.

Now I have taken many many pictures of the park and posted them here.  From the Great Lawn to the reservoir, they are all pretty note-worthy places.  Today’s post will be more about the more secretive spots that blew me away.  Who knew these lush gardens could be found by simply walking an extra 10-40 yards off the main path?

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It was established back in 1857 on a portion of city-owned land and the design was picked out of a design competition.  With the expertise of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, a design was picked, construction began, and the first public area was introduced to the public in 1858.  The construction continued through the American Civil War and in 1873 was expanded to the 843-acres that it is today.

 The park had been home to a number of shanty towns – Harsenville, the Piggery Disctrict or Seneca Village that needed to be rid of in order to continue construction and there was even a convent on the upper right side of the park called Mount St. Vincent’s Academy.

We started around 72nd near the Daniel Webster statue and ended up around 102nd.  We passed through the west side of the park, through the gardens along 5th avenue and up on the hills of Harlem.  We didn’t run through the Zoo but did pass the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir (<< one of the most difficult words for me to spell).

We crossed over and under countless from back in the 19th century and are still standing.  Along with those bridges are waterfalls, which are flowing a plenty now that it’s spring and we’ve had our fair share of rain.  Then you have the above picture (right), which is a blockhouse, the second oldest item in Central Park next to Cleopatra’s Needle, and was created back in 1814 for defending the park.

Now when writing this post, I spent some time bopping around Wikipedia.  Yes, I was using Wikipedia because all the information is there and I don’t have access to encyclopedias.  Anyways, since I can’t copy and paste and am not going to link back to every single thing, I highly recommend spending some time reading up on Central Park.  It’s fascinating what you can find and if you would rather take a walk in the park, then be my guest and come explore the wonder of New York City!

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Have you been to Central Park? Do you have a favorite place in the park?