In May of this year, I had the opportunity to visit Central Park in New York for the first time. New York itself was as I expected. Loud, dirty, crowded and (the unexpected) foul smelling. When I actually left the office on time for my last evening in New York, I tried hard to make it to the various tourist spots, but the one I wanted to see the most was Central Park.
There were two reasons I was dying to see the green oasis in the center of madness. The first is obvious, being from Oregon, I needed some green. Concrete buildings, the flashing lights of times square are never as exciting as a beautiful tree, the smell of a rose or the squealing of small children as the frolic in nature. But the second reason is also obvious, I knew it was there that I could find horses.
I made my way through the subway (will only a small amount of confusion) and when I emerged from the humid dungeon NYC calls a subway, I immediately saw trees. It was the happiest I had been all week. It only took me moments to spot my first horse, a statue atop the entrance to the park. The live ones were not far away, all lined up on the street of Central Park West, the name I had previously only heard in Law and Order.
In my hour exploration of the park, I took a few pictures, watched the carriages and really understood the term ‘Beast of Burden’. These horses working day in and day out on concrete in the hot weather, eating hay thrown on scaling cement were not the same as the pampered, blanketed and slightly spoiled equines that live in my home.
I was reminded of the evil that is told in the story of Black Beauty that I remember to this day, even though I can recall the plot (or details) of very few books, I remember how Black Beauty was worked, almost to death on the streets of London. Was that indeed the story?
I didn’t want a carriage ride through Central Park. Instead I wanted a trailer so I could transport these horses to a place of rest. It was a beautiful spring day when I was there. Last week it was more than 90 degrees in New York. That is not a job I would wish for any horse.
As I progressed through the park I found Carousel horses, just not very big ones and I couldn’t tell if the Carousel was still in operation or not. Despite my concern for the horses, it was a beautiful green sea and there were moments when it was so quiet, I just heard the trees.
As I made it to the Met about halfway through the park and took a cab to my next tourist destination, the only thing I was missing was a mounted police officer.
I am back in New York this week and I will probably visit the park again, maybe this time with a few carrots.