We had a day empty of plans during Fourth of July weekend. Naturally, this day could not be wasted with sitting around the house and vegging.* Though ordinarily the beach plays the perfect setting for such a day (it was in the 80’s, sunny with clear skies), on holiday weekends, we rule out putting ourselves in places where the masses flock. Instead, we chose a place that the masses flock on any given day: NYC.
*Or moving about the house doing housework. Bleh!
In years of visiting NYC, we have only had a slight taste of what Central Park has to offer. I think I wear my lack of enthusiasm for being immersed in nature pretty much on my sleeve*, so I usually only make it about ten minutes into Central Park before starting to wonder where all the stores are in this place lined with walkways and trees.
*But don’t misunderstand me, I love the natural beauty of our world. I just want to see it for a minute or two and then go shopping.**
**It’s a problem, I know.
The goal of this day was to spend time in Central Park and take our first visit to the Central Park Zoo.
But, of course, we needed to start with brunch.
A few minutes early for brunch, we entered the west side of the park between 64th and 63rd streets, wandered around for a little, then headed over to The Smith.
Breakfast Pot Pie…oh. my. goodness!
On our way to the zoo, I tried to catch the crowding of pigeons with this horsey, but half of them flew away before I snapped the picture.
Most NYC frequenters know that sounds of sirens are part of the day to day white noise. Therefore, it didn’t strike us as odd that there were police cars zooming past us, firetrucks blaring their sirens, or a few news vans parked outside the entrance to the park we found ourselves walking towards.
I thought, ‘It’s Fourth of July weekend. There must be a related event going on in the park that is newsworthy.‘*
*In truth, there actually was…the funeral of Elie Wiesel, 87-year-old Holocaust survivor.
Once we reached this:
…I knew something was very wrong.*
*Don’t you love that even though this area is sectioned off, the vendors were still able to remain in their usual spot?
Yet, the walkway literally parallel with the roped off area was open and filled with people.
Though we still didn’t know what had happened, I didn’t start to feel a panic until I heard a police officer comment to another that he couldn’t believe they were letting people stay in this area.
Note: That tape says: No Access! Without heavy duty vest & helmet. Yikes!
I don’t know what we would have done before Google, but a quick Google search on my phone told of an explosion in Central Park and a young man whose foot was all but gone from stepping on something after climbing a rock.
Now we realized police were inspecting the entire area, searching in bushes, combing through all grassy areas for something more.
One woman went up to a policeman and asked what was going on. He told her he couldn’t say, but that if she looked it up on her phone she would probably get more information than he could give.
In the first news stories issued, police were calling the item that caused the explosion a firework, and stated they did not believe it was an act of terrorism.*
*This didn’t stop me from over analyzing every single step I took for the next hour or so.
The story changed throughout the day, the description of the object the man stepped on transforming from a firework to something in a plastic bag to something in a box. The final conclusion the investigation left it at (thus far) is that it was something made by “an explosive hobbyist or an experimenter”.
I am the sort of person who sees a monster, turns around, and nonchalantly begins speed walking away. Lance, however, sees a monster, sizes him up, and proceeds with his business.
In other words, despite my readiness to jet as far away from Central Park as possible, we carried on with our planned day in NYC by going to the zoo, literally behind where all the police action was taking place.
Behind us: the entrance to the zoo from the park is closed and taped off
Though some will agree with my first instinct of getting away, I’m glad we stayed. We live in a world where unfortunately fear is beginning to drive many of the actions and choices people make. We must exercise a steady balance of wisdom and faith. I, for one, do not want to let fear ever consume me.
I choose to live by faith, not by fear.