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Yesterday was National Hooky Day. If nobody told you, you was robbed. But perhaps it’ll ease your paint to know I had a lovely day. Since boyfriend had the flu on his birthday last week, we declared yesterday his do-over. Our inner geriatrics don’t see the point of presents. Instead we do a bunch of fun things around the city that we wouldn’t normally do.

After perusing all the been-there-done-that options, I finally found something he’s never done: The Central Park Zoo.  He regressed a bit as soon as he saw the sea lions twirling around in the water, and melted in a puddle when a penguin bumped its head against the glass while giving him he the eye.

If you’ve never been to the Central Park Zoo, imagine any other zoo you’ve ever have been to and subtract most of the animals and multiply the number of children by about a thousand. It’s tiny and crowded for sure, but still a fun place for two adults who are simply glad and not at all guilty to not be working on a nice day.

Central Park Zoo's sleepiest bum photo credit: itsnature.org

Should we be worried that the snow lion was not in his habitat? Nah? Nor were the red-butted bamboons, and they have a relatively large space to play. We did see a squirrel on bamboo stomping grounds so perhaps the zoo is moving towards more native species.  They only have one polar bear, they used to have two, and this one is a lazy bum. Perhaps he’d be more jovial in the arctic.

Central Park's Bow Bridge

After the zoo we wandered past a sax player over to the promenade past another sax player with bongo accompaniment, down to the dry Bethesda Fountain past two opera singers performing with a cello, over Bow Bridge, which every movie filmed in NY has an obligatory shot of. The west side of the bridge leads to a winding maze of paved trails and rocks you can scale. We saw a cat on a leash, three brides, two grooms and tons of strawberries laid out over the stone-inlaid ‘IMAGINE’ at Strawberry Fields.

Central Park is deceptively big because the buildings are almost always within sight. We left at the southwest corner because boyfriend is a southern boy and no birthday is complete without a trip to Steak ‘n Shake. He made the mistake of telling me he’d spent a lot of time at the franchise back in college. Once we walked in I knew why. See, only girls work there and they all wear little black skirts and tight tees. In other words, it may not be the best place to take a date. Get the foods to go, and head south to enjoy on the bright red bleachers in Time Square for an ultimate game of I Spy.

The next hooky day will be sometime next week. Possibly Thursday and Friday, which is coincidentally when I’ll be skiing in Vermont. Though if this horribly gorgeous weather continues we may have to play hooky on skiing and log roll through mud instead. We shall see.

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