American Go E-Journal

THE TRAVELING GO BOARD: Central Park, New York City

Sunday October 10, 2010

New York’s Central Park, the most-visited city park in the U.S., seems to have everything — meadows, ball fields, tennis courts, three theaters, two lakes, a reservoir, a skating rink, a carousel, a zoo, even a castle. Frederick Law Olmsted called his creation “a democratic development of the highest significance” because it had something for everyone. As a longtime New Yorker, after decades of exploring the park, I thought I had seen everything. But recently I happened upon The Chess and Checkers House, a gaming pavilion donated in 1952 by Bernard Baruch. It stands atop a rock outcropping known as the Kinderberg, near the southeast corner of the park. Walk north from 59th street or south from 72nd street along the eastern park drive and you will see signs. With indoor and outdoor seating and views of the rink, the carousel and the dairy, it’s an ideal place to while away a pleasant afternoon. I was disappointed to learn that only one go set was available, a small, poorly-made item that they kept in the store room. When I found that manager Catherine King is eager to promote any game, I returned with two full-sized sets, leftovers from early shipments of Ing equipment. King immediately set up a prominent display in the main playing area, along with a handout I provided, directing interested players to The New York Go Center and various online go resources, as well as several copies of The Way To Go.  The Chess and Checkers House is open Wed-Sun from 10a to 5p. Anyone can use the equipment inside, or take it outside by leaving a $20 deposit or form of ID. No permit is required. At this point, to be sure of a game, it’s BYOO (Bring Your Own Opponent), but it’s the perfect place to take a break while exploring, or to meet a friend for a lunchtime game.
– Roy Laird