There are images that stop me in my tracks, and this is one of them. I just came across it in my Twitter feed. It appears to have been taken from a vantage point several thousand feet above NYC. The lines of perspective are exaggerated as the eye moves out from the center point, in a way that emphasizes the urban oasis that is Central Park – and gives you the feeling of falling into the picture. Geronimoooooooo!
Even with the distortion, though, the clarity is remarkable. I see buildings I lived and worked in, a long time ago. And the places in the park that I loved. Still do. Just haven’t been to them in awhile. The jogging track encircling the big blue Reservoir. The softball fields behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we could let Remi and Jesse romp off leash. Bethesda Fountain on The Lake. The roadways inside the park that were closed to traffic on Sundays in favor of walkers, joggers, cyclists, skaters, breakdancers, etc. Thom and I lived just four blocks behind the Guggenheim on East 89th Street and I’d rollerblade into the park and skate the great circle from midtown to Harlem. Listening to my Walkman. (FYI: this was after 8-tracks and before CDs.) Wearing only wrist and knee guards. I wasn’t young enough (even then) to justify that feeling of invincibility – but I was lucky.
And there’s the Great Lawn of Sheep Meadow where I saw the epic Simon & Garfunkel concert in 1981, and the ill-fated Diana Ross concert in the summer of ’83. It was a sweltering summer evening and a massive thunderstorm fired up just a half-hour into the show. Miss Ross was having none of it, though. She kept going in the driving rain, wind whipping that huge mane of tight curls, her flowing garments billowing like a runaway spinnaker… Ain’t no mountain high enough! A biblical downpour. No one left. It was insane. Half a million people could have been electrocuted where we stood… Ain’t no river wide enough! It was an amazing moment. And then the Motown Diva acknowledged Mother Nature’s superior forces and said she’d be back the next night to finish the show. I remember being swept along in a river of humanity exiting the park that night, soaked to the skin, everyone running for cover into the office building lobbies and hotels along Central Park South and around the Plaza. It was part disaster movie, part carnival. I don’t think they did many free concerts in the park after that. But what a night!
And you know what I love about the internet? I just found a clip from that crazy washed out concert!
An extraordinary image of an extraordinary park in an extraordinary city. If you know me or have followed this blog for more than an hour, then you know I love life in Los Angeles. But seeing this image and the memories of people and places and events that it triggers… reminds me of my first home, and my first love. It will always be true…
Day 089 #100happydays
The End (so far)