Wednesday was a weird day of highs and lows. Leslie had a few “must dos” on her New York visit list. She wanted to see a play; she wanted to do a bike tour of Central Park; and she wanted to go to the Cloisters. Wednesday was bike tour day.

It’s good that we did the tour, because I’d been in New York almost an entire month without busting out my workout gear. Yeah, not really that much of an issue considering how much I was walking, but still. It’s the point that I packed it and didn’t use it, you know? Anyway, we met our actor tour guide Joel, who had a fast talking/mumbling combo that meant that only the person standing immediately next to him could actually hear anything he was saying. Also, because he was an actor, he asked about a thousand movie related questions. I, of course, know about 95% of the answers. The Australians on our tour? Not so much.

Anyway, there were just four of us, with our Trek bikes and really nasty helmets. Like, really nasty. Interestingly, you can only bike on the roads in Central Park, not on the paths. So a bike tour consists of you doing a circuit, getting off the bikes and walking them to a destination.

You know who lives near Central Park? Rich people.

Of all the movies that have filmed in this part of Central Park, our guide chose to use the truly awful The Happening as his example. Really? Really? That was just about the worst movie I saw in 2008 (which is saying something since I also saw The Love Guru that summer).

According to our guide, it cost the equivalent of about $30 billion USD in today’s dollars to buy the land for and build Central Park. I’m thinking if this was built in Ottawa, they wouldn’t have spent the money on stone carvings like this. Of note, this is just above a public washroom. I giggled when I went inside because the washroom was just like the one in my elementary school in Montreal – built for really short people. The stall doors come up to about my collarbone. Tourists to NY are always asking each other about the quality of a bathroom (there are some nasty nasty public washrooms in that city), and one of the Aussies asked me about this one. I asked her if she’d gone to an old elementary school. She told me that Australia was a much younger country than Canada, and that they don’t have old schools. Uh. Yeah. I bit my tongue.

This is a famous fountain. What it’s famous for, I have no idea. Joel was mumbling and I stopped paying attention.

That’s some serious algae, people. Serious. Soylent Green.

This would have been so much better as a photo if it didn’t look like rain that whole day. This is the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir, so named because she used to run around it.

Yes, I did take this photo over my shoulder while whizzing downhill at an alarming speed. It totally beats this summer’s over the shoulder shot to see if my Dad was actually paddling in the canoe.

Leslie gamely posed and smiled for me while overlooking the Shakespeare Garden. Interestingly, I’ve got an audiobook by Bill Bryson on Shakespeare on high rotation right now. So, the garden was well timed. And well placed, since my thighs were on fire after 90 minutes of biking up and down hill. Mostly up, since I don’t pedal when I’m going downhill.

After the bike tour, we booted downtown to the World Trade Center memorial. It’s so very much bigger than you could imagine. Look at the photo closely – those are very tiny people on the other side of the fountain.

The design for the memorial is fascinating. The water flows smoothly on the top ledge of the fountain and then is channeled through grooves to create small, defined streams of water that fall down into another smooth pool. It’s a bit hypnotic to watch.

Unlike the Vietnam War Memorial, these names are not just carved into stone. It’s a piece of metal and the names are actually cut all the way through. I imagine in time that the Vietnam memorial will fade due to erosion, where this will not.

After the WTC memorial brought down our happiness, we spent a couple of crowded and frustrating hours at Century 21, the discount department store. Nothing was purchased. Thoroughly depressed, we went back to Brooklyn.

So, we had some highs (biking and whizzing down hills in Central Park) and some lows that retail therapy wouldn’t abate. Still, it was a day worth doing, and I’d probably do it again, though maybe not in that order.