It took me about three hours to appreciate Central Park in three ways I really never had before. It was a good day.
Item 1: Cycling & Benching
Just across from the Tavern on the Green the busy bike path has a great deal fewer rollerbladers than when I last got here on a regular basis, circa 1994. I cannot tell you what a singularly purifying impact that has on my estimate of Central Park. It is a treasure slightly beyond reckoning. It shows something about my twisted psyche that I think Osama would have been a damned sight more clever to hit the park than the towers. I took in a wash of humans and noticed several things about New York that seem new but that's just me.
First of all, I think NYC has become the capitol of Men Pushing Strollers. For the past ten years or so, I have been shouting out to dads anywhere out in the son walking with their offspring. Hey Dad! I know the joy of that exercise, but these newbs are a bit too much for me. A backpack or a frontpack? Yeah, that's the way to do it. And I can even go with the jogging deally with the three big pram wheels, but the standard stroller? Sorry, but the man card is called.
And an equal percentage are walking the small dogs. Hoboken and the Upper West Side are pug central and miniature bulldog central. Just once I would have liked to have seen a Jack Russell, but no. So I'm just wondering what the hell is going on here, and I never got the answer. What I did get was the dude with both the stroller and the dog. Oh the humanity.
I guess I just have to give props to the old men (just 15 years my senior) sitting on the bench next to me reading the NYTimes old school style - the two of them sitting side by side open to the same page discussing the stories.
Item 2: Vollyball & Sheep
The Sheep Meadow was right behind me, and across in the distance I could see volleyball courts. Since I was wearing shorts, I decided to see if the players had improved any since '94. What in fact has happened is that they have mutated the game. It's street volleyball of an odd variety.
The ball is bouncy and since I could only get into one game, I didn't have enough time to adjust. My sets and serves were off. They play let serves and rally point scoring to 21. We played fours on the asphalt except there was me, the fifth. I never got a good hit, but punched a few tight balls and managed a number of fine digs, but my whole timing was off. Plus I was wearing my glasses and couldn't move quite as quickly as I wanted. It made me mad. I want to get into perfect shape just to show these cranks a few things. So I suppose I have that mission in front of me again.
Item 3: The Ramble
It's hard to imagine that I have never been, but it's true. Maybe it was closed when I first started coming. My favorite spot had been a rock outcropping over near the Belvedere Castle with a great view of the Beresford Building. But that has been replaced by all the simple wonderment the Ramble offers within a city of concrete canyons. Yes you've heard the metaphor before. It still functions, as an eternal human constant loves the garden near the bricks.
What a perfect romance. Fountains, boats, paths. Aww.