From Central Park to Space

As the space world buzzes about the launch of SpaceShot, Sam Dinkin's much-anticipated online venture that offers to everyone $3 chances to compete for spaceship rides, I am delighted about the Space-shot.com skill challenge, announced this week: To win a coveted suborbital ride on Rocketplane's space plane, you gotta predict the weather in Central Park, New York City.

Intriguing. Many millions of NYC dwellers as well as visitors from around the globe tune in to news and travel outlets daily for the city's weather forecasts and reports, continually recorded by the
National Weather Service, in the lush green heart of the Big Apple that is Central Park.

My apartment happens to be five blacks from the Park at 78th Street. I have spent many beautiful Sunday afternoons in the 843-acre Park, biking, playing frisbee and ball games, walking dogs, listening to concerts (as well as doing some things around my favorite places in the Park, like the Great Lawn, Sheep Meadow, Bethesda Fountain, the Ramble, Bandshell, etc. that I won't mention here.)

Do I have a home court advantage? I hope so. ;) (Hey, I read the terms and conditions. Nothing says lawyers can't play.) In any case, you don't have to be a native NYC'er to dig into
seasonal weather averages for Central Park, the Gothamist's weather archives, quickly updated current weather conditions, and lots more data.

But of course, the weather in NYC, like everything else that happens in this town, is tricky to predict.

Good luck to SpaceShot contestants around the world. And hats off to Sam Dinkin for helping to make access to personal space travel as fun and open as, well, a walk in the Park.

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