Friday, December 23, 2011

Horses--Here, There, and Where?

New York City
 I have had the opportunity to visit some big cities around the world, but to date, my favorite among large cities, has to be New York City.  Maybe it is because I have traveled to that city more often than other big cities and I am somewhat familiar with the lay of the city and the subway system.  Or maybe it is because I have been there often enough to have favorite restaurants, museums, and churches.  Or maybe it is because I have friends there I like to meet for lunch in downtown Manhattan. 

Or could it be because of the horses?  Horses in one of the larger metropolitan centers of the world?  Yes, there are horses in New York City.  Two types of horses: there are the fearless and gentle but determined looking horses carrying the no-nonsense police officers; and then there are the stoic and plodding horses decked out in their jangling harnesses.

Walk toward Central Park and one encounters this second group of horses.  Lining the perimeter of the park are dozens of horses harnessed to carriages of varying shapes and sizes.  Their top-hatted drivers offer their wares—a romantic carriage ride through Central Park in varying lengths of time—twenty minutes, thirty, sixty minutes or even a full two-hour ride are offered.  What will it be?  They ask passers-by. 
New York City Carriage Rides

The horses stand patiently eating an apple from time to time or a sack of feed waiting their turn to share the beauty and serenity of the oasis that is Central Park with: a couple wrapped in a warm lap robe for a crisp evening’s moonlight ride through the park;  a family taking in the Boat Pond and the many Frisbee dogs from the slow-moving daytime carriage ride;  the gaggle of women sharing the wonder of being first-time tourists in this amazing city;  the couple adding a final special touch to an evening that started with the opera at Lincoln Center. 

Do those horses know just how much joy, wonder, and beauty they bring to those who climb aboard their carriages?  Do those horses and their drivers see Central Park with new eyes every time they make the twenty minute or two-hour tour?
I hope so!

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