by Andrew Pacholyk MS, L.Ac. (excerpt from Soul Satisfying Journeys)

(July, 14, 2011) It is a warm, bright (early) summer morning in July. Tonio and I have several errands to get done! We are in New York and on our way up to the upper east side. Tonio had the desire to suprise his co-workers and decorate the business with colorful red, white and blue balloons, flags and toys for Bastille day.

Bastille Day is the French National Day, which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year. In France, it is formally called La Fete Nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July). Official ceremonies along with the festivities are held all over France. This day commemorates the 1790 Fete de la Federation, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th 1789; the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation, and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution.

By 7 am, the decorations were up and the place sparkled! So off to Central Park with a bag full of goodies we brought back from Paris and two coffees. Central Park is an unbelievably beautiful habitat and a National Historic Landmark in the middle of Manhattan! Opened in 1857, on 843 acres, it was remarkably designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan. Construction began the same year and was completed in 1873. The park is home to rolling hills, lakes and reservoirs, over 25,000 trees and a variety of birds and little furry mammals.

On the upper east corner of East 74th Street, located just north of the Conservatory Water, is an eleven foot tall statue of Alice in Wonderland in bronze, surrounded by the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit and Cheshire Cat along with the Dormouse and Alice’s cat, Dinah. Publisher and philanthropist George Delacorte commissioned the sculpture as a tribute to his late wife Margarita, and as a gift to the children of New York City. Alice was created by Spanish born, French-trained sculptor Jose de Creeft in 1959, depicting the famous characters from Lewis Carroll infamous children’s story..

Unlike most sculptures, children (and adults) are invited to climb, touch and crawl all over Alice and her friends. In fact, through the decades thousands of hands and feet have literally polished parts of the statue’s surface smooth.

One of my favorite books as a child, Alice in Wonderland has been depicted with great reverence in Disney’s animated feature, as a fantastic retelling by director Tim Burton and even most recently as a Broadway show.

The statue is half mooned by benches facing inward. This is were we sat and enjoyed our breakfast with Alice. We enjoyed hot coffee and sweet, delectable biscuits as we watched the sun gently start to rise up over the tree tops. The park was alive with joggers and dog walkers, nannies and couples visiting. The smell of fresh cut grass would waft by our nostrils with a wiff of sweet jasmine planted behind the benches.

Enjoying breakfast in nature in the middle of the greatest city in the world! It just gets “curiouser and curiouser”! The sculptor included an inscription in a granite circle surrounding his work. It is a line from “The Jabberwocky, also by Lewis Carroll: “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.”

If you have never been to New York City, or Central Park, I encourage you to see this wonder. Be sure to stop by and pay Alice a visit!

Enjoy my collection of products devoted to Alice in Wonderland