By Ruby Samuels
The path to Central Park from Columbia’s campus is a spectacle in itself. First, walk past the crown-logoed flags and flawless hedges as you exit this real life Hogwarts. After the hospital, prepare to be in actual Hungary for a moment as you pass the pastry shop. Then, there is what one can only assume is a castle and a statue of a centaur holding a princess under a sun—and if you catch a glimpse of the albino peacocks, you will never want to leave. That is the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. If you manage to continue, you will eventually find yourself by the park.
Unfortunately, you will enter at the midpoint of the Great Hill. This hill doesn’t look steep, but it is long and many a city-kid’s nemesis. Climb on. Duck into the wilderness on your right when possible.
You are now in the North Woods. Find black squirrels, wooden bridges, stony streams and couples hiding behind bushes. Look up at the speckled blue sky between orange and brown autumn leaves.
Keep walking southeast, under a large stone bridge and up some steps. Pause by the pond. There are ducks and strollers and weeping willows. A few painters might be working on little canvases, rendering images of water and willows that will leave you wondering how many Monets are out there being neglected.
If you continue along my southeast diagonal tour, you will find some baseball fields. You don’t have to know sports to enjoy watching a game. Just looking at the little isolated universe on that field is enough entertainment. Watch the helicopter sports mom; the mischievous toddler holding the doggy babysitter’s collar, the kid who is finally passed the soccer ball but just sits with it in his lap like his own personal crystal ball.
You can walk further if you like. Central Park is a world in itself. There is the Ramble, Belvedere Castle (a real castle with real turtles in its adjacent pond), and much, much more. Spend as much time there as you can. Escape the urban jungle and get lost in the woods for a while. Read a book while lying on your back in the overgrown grass of Sheep Meadow. People watch, walk a dog and climb the chalk-covered boulder-like rocks to sit in Shakespeare’s Garden. Take a date. Take your Mom. Just get off campus and venture off to Central Park.
Perhaps this is one of the feral beasts you’ll encounter on your journey?
(Image courtesy of Humans of New York)
Ruby Samuels is a junior at Barnard and On-Campus Editor for Barnard Bite.