Saturday, September 12, 2009

Central Park Carousel

At the southern end of Central Park, sitting charmingly on a small piece of land that dips gently below the main road, is a carousel so unusual that it seems to be a throwback to a much earlier time. As it happens, this one is the fourth carousel to lie within the boundaries of Central Park during the Park's history and was actually recovered from an old Coney Island trolley terminal back in the 1950s. As the Central Park Conservancy explains, this 1908 carousel boasts 58 hand-carved, painted horses, all of which "are caught rearing or in mid-stride with almost fierce reality."

The Conservancy says that 250,000 people ride the carousel every year and that part of the fun has to do with the life size scale of many of the horses and the surprisingly fast pace at which the carousel whirls about to the familiar sounds of the calliope.

When we visited it the other day, it was a pleasure simply to watch young children and aging adults alike thrill to this simple, yet enduringly appealing amusement. Funny, how when you get to a certain age just observing others enjoy themselves in such a festive environment can be so diverting. Few things are more purposeless than a carousel, but, really, that's exactly what makes it so refreshing and enjoyable, too.


  1. We all need some purposelessness in our lives. It's where the serendipity flows. But, like luck, purposelessness requires a prepared mind. That's why it's a good idea to practice 'mindful purposelessness' on a regular basis. Might sound like an oxymoron, but being mindful, even about doing nothing, is one of the keys to happiness and the basis for most meditation practice. Take time to take time...

  2. I absolutely love the concept of "mindful purposelessness!" I say bring those oxymorons on!!