Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Walk in the Park

A man and a woman rush by; my left ear dips as deep as it can into their conversation. "I mean, you don't know what it's like to lose thirty-thousand dollars in a day." They're gone.

In the distance a Jazz band wails in a New Orleans groove. It echoes through faint applause and some kids playing in a little designated playground nearby. The sunlight shoots through the trees and makes the scene look like a Monet Painting in focus. I walk closer. They've picked the perfect spot. A cobblestone walkway has come to a Y. They nestle themselves where the roads diverge and a small crowd has gathered. Just everyday NYC people, I think. I think that because they are all wearing grey, or black, and let's face it... most look very Jewish. I hate to say it, but Jewish people tend to be the ones that seem to know best how to stop and smell the roses around these parts. Notice I didn't say "take a picture of the roses," I said "smell em'." Big difference.

Anyways, I'm amazed that all these people just stopped what they were doing to fill the benches surrounding the small band playing for pennies. I can't help but stop myself. These people are a good influence on me. Besides, the band is pretty good. Really good. So good I can't resist, I've gotta drop some money in. I have a soft spot for musicians in the park. For some reason, subway musicians are slightly annoying. Maybe because it is already so darn loud down there. I did see a midget dressed up like Michael Jackson once doing a little Jacko routine at Penn Station. I recorded it with the Treo. (curse its clunky memory.) Maybe I'll post that sometime.

I drop my money and move on. Next in line to pass is a lady with an enormous scarf, enormous jet-black sunglasses and two enormously fluffy pooches. The park must be a sensory overload for the average pooch or salon-perm pooch. The canvas of sound and smell is staggering and hypnotic. Everywhere your eye turns a new thing grabs on until the smell of roasting peanuts overwhelms you, or some other food that might as well be thanksgiving dinner.

Another couple shuffles by. They have English accents.
"You can't seriously think that London is more interesting than this city."
"Yes, I can."
"How so?"
"Well for one thing the tourists."
"Oh, that's part of the charm."
"Well, "I'll take my park with less tourist if you please."
"Well, no surprise there. You always did like your tea boring and plain."

They laugh and I quit following them. Yeah, I couldn't resist. Something about the English language always makes me want to eaves drop. Every sentence sounds like it's from the Magna Carta. The English could make the back of a drano bottle sound like the Magna Carta. (1.)

I think about taking a picture but as soon as I pull out my phone the Brit's are aware of me and glance back. Shamefully, I act like someone is calling and I stop to talk on the cold-dead iPhone.

They've given up suspicion and have bought my phoney charade. (Ha!) I shuffle around our usual walking-circle-trail and I hear some small dog explode into frantic yipes in the distance. Now two yipes. One's high pitched and the other is really high. I peer down an overlooked cobblestone trail and see a man pulling a rabid, black wiener dog into the air by its leash. From where I'm standing, the dog and leash look like a weed-eater gone loco.

Did you know that the rock in Central Park is smooth and grooved because the city was covered by an Iceberg thousands of years ago? Just learned that from the History Channel. (History Channel=Seth-Coke) Yeah, 20,000 years ago the iceberg slowly seceded to the north pole and smoothed the stone, dropping big stones in its wake. Evidently the entire city is living on a great sheet of this hard bedrock.

There is nothing quite like Central Park in the fall.

Btw, the pics here are from my iPhone. I've posted some new pics over at my iPhone Photo blog. Enjoy! (Yes, I figured out how to upload pics without dismantling iLiberty, so more pictures on a regular basis.)


Stephen said...

How are you getting the pictures to your computer from your iPhone? Is there a way around having to send each picture individually?

Seth Ward said...

Stephen, when you plug your iphone into your mac, if you got a mac, it automatically uploads your pictures to iphoto. You can get Iphoto for pc i think. It is in the ilife package and the whole thing is well worth it. Garage band... iphoto... imovie... fun stuff.

Seth Ward said...

Also, I would suggest this because when your iphone sends a pic it automatically sends it at a lower res to send it faster.

Bill Hensley said...

Hey, Seth, did you know that the Central Park landscape was artifically created? It's not the original, natural terrain! A brief excerpt from the Central Park Conservancy web site:

The varied terrain of the topography set aside for the Park invited pastoral, picturesque, and formal landscapes, all of which were included in Olmsted and Vaux’s plan. Achieving their vision, however, was a challenge to both architect and engineer, as the area was rocky, swampy, and muddy. The soil was inadequate to sustain the trees and shrubs Olmsted and Vaux planned, so 500,000 cubic feet of topsoil was carted in from New Jersey. Lacking modern machinery, workers manually dug up earth, and blasted out huge boulders with gunpowder. More than 10 million cartloads of materials and debris were carted in and out on horse-drawn carts. Thirty-six bridges and arches were built and six man-made water bodies, fed from the City's water supply, were created.

Seth Ward said...

I did actually! I saw that on the special. Many-a-poor Irishman died in the effort. However, the underlying stone, in the places where it surfaces, was smoothed by the icebergs. Some of the stone was dropped from the iceberg itself as it receded.

As far as landscaping, lakes and fauna, it was built or imported. What is cool is that if the land had not been previously an unusable swamp, it would have been long-ago been citied!

Seth Ward said...

As far as the imported stones, there are about 12 "iceberg-dropped" stones, technically called a "glacial erratic." One of which is near the baseball park just a few bits from where we live!

Correction from last comment: Actually, I didn't learn about the Irish-abused on the History Channel special, I learned that on the PBS documentary "The Irish in America."

Bill Hensley said...

Cool. I didn't see that special, but a while back we were thinking about going to New York on vacation. So I was researching "the sights" and wound up on the Central Park Conservancy website. Very interesting to read the whole history of the park. At various times it has been allowed to pretty much go to seed, then a movement arises to renovate it.

I've never been to NYC. I'd love to see it some time. (But I don't think I could stand to live there. I don't care much for "urban" as a steady diet.)

SandinaJ said...

I love reading when you write about NY...makes me feel like I'm right there with you, living vicariously through you.