In 2004 I didn't make it. Four years later I left out the museums, and took instead a stroll through Central Park. Accompanying me where my friends Eric, Jelena and Marina. The girls are Ivana's sisters who had also come to visit, and their point of interest was mostly focused on shopping. I couldn't blame them. Croatia has gotten pretty expensive, and in NY the winter sale was just happening. I think we managed to scavenge most of Manhattan's shops and surrounding malls and outlets. While the girls still didn't have enough, I had reached the point of if having the choice between entering another shop or dieing, I'd choose the latter. It was a point of no return. So, on this snowy winter day, the four of us left the subway on 86th street and walked the few blocks to Central Park.
It was perfect! The air was feeling fresh, there were kids playing in the snow, a few people walking and jogging, and we saw squirrels, an animal I don't get to see at home for whatever reason. While Eric and I enjoyed the hike, the girls got impatient. True, it was freezing cold, but still bearable, and when had we been in nature the last time anyway? My main point of interest in Central Park was "Strawberry Fields", and I was determined to get there. We were several blocks away from it, but my answer to the recurring question "How much longer yet?!" was a persistent "Not long!" I believe the girls had no idea what would hit them, when agreeing to this hike.
Alice in Wonderland - Dalmatians in snowy land
Finally we arrived at "Strawberry Fields". Located just opposite of the Dakota building at W 72nd street, the place where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived (Yoko still does), it is a round mosaic displaying the word 'Imagine' in the middle.
Created as a memorial to the late John Lennon, 121 countries contributed the stones for the mosaic and native plants for the garden, its aim is to promote peace amongst people. When we arrived there, the mosaic was decorated with flowers creating the peace sign. A, as it seemed, school class was there taking photos. Then a guy approached and started talking to the crowd. He introduced himself as Gary, the mayor of Strawberry Fields, and explained the history and meaning of the mosaic. He also said that for the last 8 years he maintained the site, cleaning it and decorating with a peace sign every day. It was obvious that he was a bum, but still, his enthusiasm about his 'work' was kinda touching. I approached him, and we had an interesting and nice chat. He informed me that there are videos about him on youtube, so here's a link if you'd like to take a closer look at this extraordinary character: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cq3YVrRwfT8&NR=1