Blissed Out on the Buzz…

Winter’s here, I’m telling you, and for those of us who are solidly outdoor runners–I loathe treadmills–this whole plunging mercury thing makes running rather a challenge. On my last windchapped outing a few days ago, I came to grips with the cold (literally), hard fact that strappy just wasn’t cutting it. Running along the Hudson wasn’t going to happen again for me until spring, it just wasn’t, so I’d better come up with a seasonal alternative and fast.

For kicks, why not run up to Central Park, around said Park, and then back?

The Pond at Bryant Park.
Skaters enjoying The Pond at Bryant Park.

The deal buster in my plan was Midtown. To get to CP, you gotta go through–there. You see, I detest crowds–and yes I realize that sounds crazy coming from someone who moved to Manhattan on purpose even. But it’s true, which is why ordinarily I avoid Midtown like well, the proverbial plague. Problem was, I was desperate, jones-ing for that Runner’s High. Unfortunately, off-hours in the Big Apple are hard to come by. With the city decked out for the upcoming holidays, checking out Midtown wasn’t just my good idea. The sidewalks were thronged, three-deep, making me feel like I was in some sort of virtual reality pinball machine. At times, I just had to give up the ghost and walk it. So much for my much anticipated endorphin boost.

But, mes enfants, when given the lemons, sometimes it is best to make the lemonade, or in this case, the holiday lemon curd…

Rather than gnashing my teeth and vocalizing some very non-brotherly love type expletives every time my shoulders got bumped, which was a lot, I decided to dial it down and just go with it. Smell, if not the roses, then the vendor hotdogs and roasted chestnuts.

Manhattan decked out for the holidays is truly a sight to behold. Fortunately I had my trusty Blackberry tucked into my runner’s arm band and I used the camera of said BB to snap some photos.

First stop: The New York Public Library. After paying my respects to Patience and Fortitude, I ran up the library steps Rocky style just because I could. Duly oxygen deprived (hmm, perhaps source of aforementioned Runner’s High isn’t endorphins at all) I circled back behind to Bryant Park. Not much running there given the temporary buildings set up for winter but fortunately lots of good photo ops. There’s even a small skating rink called The Pond. After watching for a while, I think I like this one better than Rockefeller Center’s. Not as grand for sure but somehow it just seems more friendly, more approachable. Then again, maybe I’m influenced by the signage: “The Perfect Antidote to the 9 to 5.” I haven’t had a 9 to 5 job in years, thank goodness, but if I did, I’m sure I’d need an antidote.

Rockefeller Center. No Christmas tree yet but an angel and a fish fountain are almost as good.
Rockefeller Center. No Christmas tree yet but an angel and a fish fountain are almost as good.

And of course, since I was in the hood, I had to stop in at Rockefeller Center, which is yes, really quite spectacularly beautiful despite the proud dad who didn’t seem to understand why I objected to his learning-to-walk toddler stomping on my beloved Blackberry, which I’d set down on the wall–for like less than a minute.

Peace and love,


5 thoughts on “Blissed Out on the Buzz…

  1. Hi Hope! If you take the N/R train up to 59th Street, you can avoid the crowds, and then just head in to the park. I know it’s not the same as running up to the park, but at least you don’t have all those pesky people around!

  2. That’s good advice, Elizabeth. I was trying to avoid having to get back on the subway in sweaty running clothes but apparently it’s not going to work out that way.

  3. At times I wish that I lived in a bigger city that had places like Central park and Rockefeller Center being as the small town I live in doesn’t have many places to go. Have fun living there.

  4. To be sure, Annette, NYC is exciting at any time of the year, but the winter holidays really do ramp up the energy even more. Still, small towns at Christmas have their unique charm. Before moving here, I lived in a small town, Fredericksburg, VA, and the historic main street with its shop fronts decked out is really lovely, too. There’s a walking tour of private homes sponsored by the local historic preservation society and a Christmas Parade, the latter hokey but fun. Neighbors tend to throw their holiday bashes to coincide with the parade weekend and then for New Year’s Eve there are First Night festivities oriented to families. I thoroughly enjoyed my seven years there and now I am most thoroughly enjoying the season here.

    Speaking of which, Leanna, we got to make a date to walk through Union Square’s Christmas shops. I want to see me some reindeer-suited musicians.

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