We crisscrossed the park many times; hardly a day went by without meandering through its winding paths and tracks of various lengths, widths and directions. For Central Park is a trip, a destination, a meeting point, a playground and recreation park, all at once; it is the heart and lungs of the city; and it is teaming with life.
So we strolled and explored and took deep breaths, the air moist, but still pleasantly so in June; we rested our aching feet on some of the 9.000 wooden benches that dot the park, some of which are adopted and carry personalised messages on plaques fixed on their back. We sat and watched people watching people go by and listened to lively conversations from the neighbouring benches.
We meditated over calm ponds, bright green from algae and the reflections of leafy trees and shrubs on the water. There is something very tranquil about the ponds – in sharp contrast to the bustling city sounds a couple of hundred metres away.
We let our gaze travel leisurely across the Reservoir named after Jackie Kennedy Onassis, soaking up the breathtaking view; we annoyed dozens of runners on the dirt truck that circles it, by going clockwise before noticing the signs directing the flow anticlockwise; we still ignored them anyway.
We walked the perfect arch of the Bow Bridge.
We sat on the fresh green lawn of the Sheep Meadow, where flocks of sheep were grazing until 1934, and flocks of people are basking ever since. We watched the park changing mood.
We walked across Strawberry Fields, the memorial paying tribute to John Lennon and walked past the Dakota, one of Manhattan’s most exclusive and star-studded apartment blocks, Lennon’s home until his untimely, tragic death in 1980. It occurred to me that for all his activism, connections to the hippie movement, turbulent personal life and troubles with the authorities, Lennon hadn’t done too bad for the posh side of himself!
Finally, one day, this… *A smile in the sky! A tiny inverted rainbow on a bright, sunny day. You gotta love New York!
* The phenomenon or “smile in the sky” only occurs when thin wispy cirrus clouds – made of ice crystals – are at a specific angle to the sun. Cirrus clouds normally form at between 18.000 and 40.000ft, so circumzenithal arcs appear much higher in the sky and are usually obscured by clouds. They are more common in cold climates, but still fairly rare.
Shared photo credits (Konstantinos & Lia)
New York, 01-22 June 2014