I’m at Central Park sitting on one of the many rocks. I’ve just settled into my spot that’s more people filled than I like but manageable enough for me to not want to pack up all of my stuff and relocate to another, more remote, section of the park. Those sections of the park are a little harder to find-especially if you’re below 100th-as I am right now. In the middle of the summer the park entrance at 72nd Street on the west side tends to be sheer torture. It’s close enough to the subway that the tourists will venture in just a bit but the tourist venture in a bit, making it undesirable for a real New Yorker. Up past 100th street there’s a park entrance at the 108th Street Stop of the subway (I think that’s the stop) and you walk down a little path through some fields until you get to a part where only neighborhood folks tend to venture. People with babies and dogs toting picnic baskets, concealed beers, blankets, guitars, Frisbee, and bikes they’ve ridden from a few blocks away. From this place in the park you can’t necessarily hear the buzz of the city like I can now. You can see some sky scrapers but not as many and it feels like, for those moments in the sun, that you’re not in the City that Never Sleeps but in a place where you’re constantly surrounded by nature.
Today, though I’m at 72nd street on a black rock and I’m surrounded by tourists and New Yorkers alike, I’m sure. There are a few lone folks like me (New Yorkers) who’ve escaped their cramped apartments, their jobs, their lives for a few moments in the sun before returning to work, school, a cramped apartments. There are runners stretching on a blanket in their new running gear (gotta buy new running gear and go to the park to run) stretching for longer than recommended-enjoying the feeling of the cool New York breeze on bare legs finally instead of biting air piercing through nylon running tights. There are a cluster of rented bikes (not locked, not New Yorkers) and their European riders, there is a group of sweet girls (gay, maybe. probably christian. they totally watch Glee) behind me. One of them is playing a guitar and the others are singing in unison to “Where is the Love”-one’s rapping, they’re actually not bad. There is a man a little farther away from me laying on his back reading Proust.
This is my moment right now and it is moments like this that make me realize that there’s nothing I want more than to stay in NYC for the rest of my life. I love getting to peak into people’s lives anonymously and eaves drop on their conversations, their songs, their problems. I’m sure there are cities in the world that are similar but as far as I’m concerned New York is tops on my list.