Monday was largely “Bucket List Day” for me. I had always wanted to ice skate and I had always wanted to ride bicycles in New York City. Both of those things were on the schedule for Monday. Valerie had said what she was looking forward to the most was ice skating. Neither of us had ever tried and we were a little nervous about it, but mostly excited.
The only ice skating rinks I knew about in New York City were Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and Wollman Rink in Central Park. After doing some research, it appeared Wollman Rink was our best bet. But then Valerie found out about a different ice skating rink in Central Park called Lasker Rink. I texted my friend, Balie, who is my resident New York City expert, and asked her about Lasker Rink. She had never heard of it either, but when I told her the location she said it sounded fine. It was the most affordable and would likely be the least crowded.
Sheri & Keesha were also going to Central Park that day, but the park is enormous – 840 acres to be exact – so we wouldn’t see them once we got to the park. We did, however, meet up with them for a few minutes outside the Starbucks across from our hotel and rode the subway together. It’s tough to eat a breakfast scone, a cup of yogurt, and drink a bottle of water all at the same time while standing up, but I tried! I was also trying to hurry, which made for some speed eating & drinking. As I was shoveling in my breakfast and the four of us were congregated in a circle outside Starbucks, Keesha made me laugh and I spewed water (and yogurt, unfortunately) right at them. How embarrassing! I think they jumped out of the way before getting an extra morning shower. I must admit it is fun to be friends with people so funny that you have to drink carefully around them. Good grief!
We made our way to the subway & rode a while. Sheri & Keesha got off earlier than Valerie & me. I think we rode to the very top corner of the park, actually, because Lasker Rink is way up around 110th Street. We entered the park and this was the first view we encountered. It’s such a pleasant place.
We roamed around a little and climbed some very steep stairs and then finally we caught a glimpse of the ice skating rink. Then the excitement level picked up. We were both so eager to attempt it. We found the entrance, bought our tickets, secured our rental skates, put all our belongings in a locker, and headed to the rink.
Valerie got her skates on first and realized they were easy to walk in. I was skeptical, but soon discovered she was telling the truth, for which I was grateful. The rink was not overly crowded. There was a group of about fifteen or twenty children who looked to be about four years old. They had a few adults with them. Other than that, it was Valerie, me, and maybe five or six other people. Valerie took to the ice first and told me it wasn’t too hard. Again, she was telling the truth. It was so much fun! I almost wiped out at first, just getting used to it, but we both did really well. Valerie was better at it than I was and she was brave – speeding around the rink. I was going at a slower pace than her, but I think I was doing great for a beginner. We loved it. We each wiped out a few times, but our falls were few and far between. I still have a bruise on my knee as an ice skating battle scar, but it was totally worth it.
After about an hour, the group of children and their respective adults left, leaving only about five or six of us on the rink. There was this adorable little lady who was inching – literally inching – her way around the rink while holding tightly to the rails & fencing. I skated past her & told her that she was so cute & was making me smile! She laughed and told me she was from India and had never tried ice skating before, but she wanted to try it once before she went back home. Valerie and I told her it was our first time too and we tried to convince her to let go of the rail, but she wasn’t having it. I think she made two laps before she left. Two long, slow laps! Valerie and I were both having so much fun that I think we would have happily stayed longer, except there were other things we wanted to do that day. We would mention that we should probably leave soon, and then one of us would say “five more minutes!” And then in the end “two more laps!” It really was kind of sad to turn in our skates. It was by far the most fun thing we did, in my opinion, and we had a lot of fun on the trip. I could not stop smiling. Also, a movie quote came to mind as I was ice skating around the rink – “Can’t you see I’m gliding here?!” (Miss Congeniality!)
That afternoon, we used a Groupon we found to rent bicycles to ride in Central Park. We picked up the bikes and walked with them a few blocks to the park. The bikes were super comfortable and had handy little baskets, so it was nice to have somewhere to put our heavy purses and Valerie’s heavy camera bag for a while. Unfortunately, we found that a lot of Central Park – all the trails throughout the park – is off limits to bicycle riding. You can only ride bikes on the actual streets with bike lanes. It was pretty weird having cars and taxis riding right next to us! And it was kind of a let down to not get to ride on all the various trails. We spent a lot of time pushing our bikes around the trails, because we wanted to see more than just the outside road sections of the park. We got a great deal though, so it was worth it and I was happy to check it off my bucket list. I’d do it again, but probably only if I had more daylight to work with. In fact, I’m thinking next time I might rent a bike to ride across the Brooklyn Bridge instead of throughout Central Park. But anyway, in my opinion, one of the great things about the bikes was that we got lots of bike photos. I love bicycles. I find them charming. So here are some of the fun photos we got with our bicycles.
After we returned the bicycles, we walked to Dylan’s Candy Bar, which is a well known three story candy store in the city. I bought a couple of things. Valerie bought half the store. (That girl can put away more candy than your average person.)
Once we got back to the hotel, Sheri & Keesha texted and said they were going to eat at PJ Clarke’s and invited us to come along. I had already filled up on candy and wasn’t super hungry, but figured I could find a tasty appetizer and it’s always fun hanging out with those two. The subway we took seemed to have stairway after stairway after stairway deep underground. Keesha, in her typical humor, told us that she & Sheri had taken that same subway earlier and she thought they’d never make it back up. She said at one point, she thought surely they were finished climbing stairs, but then rounded the corner to see another flight. “Just LEAVE ME!”, she told Sheri. We were able to find an escalator on our way back to the street level, thank goodness! PJ Clarke’s is apparently where Jackie Kennedy used to take her children on weekends in the city, so there’s some history there. I just ordered these delicious little tuna tacos. They were awesome and got devoured.
After we finished eating, we were close to Dylan’s Candy Bar again and Sheri & Keesha wanted to visit, so we made a return trip. I bought some coconut and black licorice jelly bellies. My little bag looked so fancy, like my little jelly bellies were going to a formal event in their black & white. I think Valerie spent another small fortune. Keesha & Sheri got a few treats, too. Then back to the subway and back to the hotel we went. Here’s Keesha & me on the subway. She says my camera loves her! It must be nice to be as photogenic as she is! My hair was so flat from hat hair, but I still like this photo of us.
Once we got back to the hotel, Valerie and I roamed out to Times Square once more. We visited the M&M’s store and walked around a bit more so Valerie could take some photos.
I was exhausted and don’t think I had been happier to see a subway train arrive than the one in this photo and I don’t know that I slept harder the entire trip than I did that night. (Wonder why I was so tired?!) Bucket List Day was an absolute success!