Central Park – a marriage proposal

An unplanned jaunt back to the UK and  a focus on promoting my New York City small-group guided walking tours has seen over two months slip by since my last post.

With a Groupon “2 for 1” deal on my Central Park walks up and running and orders coming in it’s time for me to get back on the horse. Check out the Groupon deal here.

So far, the most memorable of my Groupon guests are Patrick and Kathryn, from Suffolk County, Long Island, who I took through the Park on Sunday 25th May. Unbeknown to Kathryn, Patrick was planning to propose to her in the Park, before going on to lunch and a Broadway musical.

After much discussion with Patrick, my mission was to come up with an itinerary and specific locations suitable for a proposal; iconic Central Park but not too crowded so Patrick could easily go down on one knee and I could capture the moment through video and stills.

We started from the Grand Army Plaza entrance at the south-east corner of the Park so as to take in some iconic sights. Early on we visited the top of a prominent rock outcrop overlooking the Pond in the south-east corner of the Park for some great views. The viewpoint is accessible via a steepish grassy slope to the east of the Pond; or via a shorter path leading off the East Drive. I’d only recently visited it a few weeks ago and was blown away by the perspective it offers of the Pond, Gapstow Bridge and the south end of the Park. It’s a little rugged on the top but, if you’re reasonably fit and sure-footed, well worth the effort.

20140525_112117-resized75pcPatrick and Kathryn on the outcrop; Gapstow Bridge in the background

From here we  headed north visiting well-known locations including the Carousel, the Chess and Checkers House, the Dairy, Sheep Meadow, the beautiful tree-lined Mall, the Bethesda Terrace Arcade and Fountain, Bow Bridge and the Ramble.

Though the Park has potentially many great spots for proposing, actually choosing an appropriate one presented a conundrum. Particularly iconic spots, such as Bow Bridge, are popular and can be crowded, especially in good weather. Secluded spots offer more privacy, but may not have the “romantic” Central Park background a proposal requires.

In the end Patrick proposed at the famous fountain and Angel of the Waters statue at Bethesda Terrace, the heart of Central Park. It turned out to be a great decision. There was a gentle buzz of people around as we arrived at the Fountain but plenty of room for Patrick to propose, my videoing duties, and for them both to savour the moment once Kathryn had said “YES”.

IMG-20140526-WA0045She said yes!

After Patrick and Kathryn had properly taken in the moment we continued with the walk, crossing Bow Bridge into the Ramble. The narrow Bridge was busy with constant foot traffic and visitors lining both sides so it was good that Patrick had not waited to propose here (an early proposal location contender).

The leafy and peaceful Ramble is a 38-acre “wild garden” of meandering paths and woodland areas running between 73rd to 79th Streets in mid-Park. A favourite with birders, it offers a variety of secluded spots and panoramas and was an ideal area for wandering away from the crowds and winding down a little from the earlier emotion.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBow Bridge from the Point (the Ramble);  Majestic (twin-towered) and Dakota cooperative apartment buildings in background

20140525_123921Looking south-west from Ramble to Hernshead and the Ladies Pavilion

Leaving the Ramble over Oak/Bank Rock Bridge it was a short walk to the 81 St – Museum of Natural History subway stop on Central Park West where we parted company.

Retrospectively, the walk’s timing (11a.m – 1p.m) worked out brilliantly. Later the areas south of the Ramble were very crowded through a combination of fantastic weather, the Memorial Day weekend, and the opening of the Victorian Gardens amusement park in the Wollman Rink.

It was a great day, and I enjoyed being part of the preparations and special occasion for a lovely young couple. Patrick and Kathryn I wish you the very best for your future together and hope that Central Park will always have a special place in your hearts. Thanks for letting me share your story.

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