Unfortunately, Michelle will wake up today, pack her things into a gigantic suitcase, and fly back to reality after her week in Bonaire. Felis bia, Amigu! Bon bini na kas!
Michelle donated a full marathon’s worth of miles, including the pesky .2 that comes at the end. So instead of finishing my run at twenty-four miles on the nose, I carried on for an extra two-tenths.
Terrace drive brought me to the Mall, which stretches north to south between the Shakespeare Statue and Bethesda Fountain. No, it’s not a big building with stores and a food court, but rather a wide, shaded promenade. The Mall was the only formal feature incorporated into Central Park’s original design and was conceived so that wealthy park goers could be dropped off at one end, enjoy a pleasant stroll, and be picked up at the other without the tiresome burden of having to retrace their steps. (Such hardships!)
I turned onto the Mall and ran past the venerable Central Park Bandshell. In the 1800’s people rocked out here to concerts by John Philip Sousa and Victor Herbert, whose bust sits nearby. Directly across the plaza, a bust of Beethoven, whose music was also heavily featured, stares at the angel below him and frowns.
I left Ludwig behind and carried on under the canopy of the Elm trees that flank the Mall. Further on, I passed the statue of Sir Walter Scott. Mad props to the guy for writing Ivanhoe, but this statue makes him look like he’s used a mop to conceal his extra-pointy cranium. Across the way sits a rather dreamy-eyed statue of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet and the guy who wrote Auld Lang Syne. There’s also a statue of Fitz-Greene Halleck.
Though you’ve probably never heard of the guy, he was a huge literary star in 19th century New York, revered on the same level as Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. Writing poetry and satire for the New York Evening Standard, Halleck's work was widely read and easy to digest, though contemporary critic Edgar Allen Poe described his verses as “little less than torture.” He was so popular that 10,000 people crowded into the Mall for the unveiling of his statue; and that happened ten years after he died.
I tagged out both the end of Michelle’s two-tenths, and the whole 24.2-mile run, on the base of the Shakespeare statue at the Mall’s south end. I whispered to Bill the Paddy Runs motto, “Bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible” then wobbled over to a park bench to sit down.
Back home in Sunnyside, I treated myself to lamb and rice from a food cart by the subway. I was too sore and tired to wait around for Fresh Taco and anyway I’d surely burned so many calories that, short of wolfing down handfuls of sugar-coated lard, I could probably eat whatever I wanted.