Friday was an amazing day; to be anywhere but out was to miss the single best day of the year, and in many prior months. I walked through Central Park to get to my dentist’s appointment on Fifth and 61st. Usually I walk the long way, down to Central Park South where I do take the time to look at the ducks in the duck pond, because I’m allergic to many of the trees and grasses in the park.
Winter is my favorite time there which is good because I find going to Riverside Park too windy. I like living near two half year parks; it makes me feel that my summer home is virtually across the street from the Hudson, and my winter home is near my childhood spiritual home, the rocks in Central Park, and my actual home for those pivotal, I don’t have kids so I can do whatever I want at night, years.
Not that they’ve ended; but almost everybody I know has kids at home. Rafe doesn’t but his daughter is 25 and half way finished with law school. Rafe is an incredible person, and I shouldn’t have pointed out all his “bad” quirks.
When my father died, Rafe would come over every night. When my mother died, Rafe took me to and from the funeral; my mother’s friends were all very impressed. My mother had been astounded by our friendship years earlier.
I reminded her that she had some very close straight male friends. My mother was too classy to counter with the “but I’m married” argument. True she only occasionally met them alone for lunch. But I could tell from the things she said which person in the couple she preferred. True they didn’t come over and stay until two AM without their spouses. My mother might have had a point…but she came to appreciate and like Rafe.
On Friday, hungover as hell, I forced myself to walk. The dentist appointment was only five minutes and I was too hungover to do anything but walk home. Rafe’s hair salon is a mere four blocks, one Avenue from the dentist building as my sister and I call the building at 61st and Fifth. The office pavillion seems to only house dentists, some of whom we know personally. Always pray that I won’t run into any of them after a long appointment because I look like hell if hell were haggard with glass shards sticking into feet.
But on Friday the oral surgeon just took out stitches. When I walked back I realized that I had memorized much of Central Park years earlier when I lived on 63rd, and the zoo was my backyard. While I had the clock with birds that chime the time memorized; I also didn’t take Central Park for granted, for the first time, forever.
Actually when I lived on 63rd I went to Europe often, but when I would walk into the exterior of the park in spring when the trees were beginning to be in full glory, the cherry blossoms were out, I would look at all the splendor and wonder why I was going to Europe when I could find so much wonder in Manhattan.
When I looked for my coop realtors didn’t understand why I didn’t want to live on Central Park West; I had already lived near Central Park, I wanted the other one that people consider less desirable. They don’t know what it’s like when the river breezes flow in on a sultry humid night and it feels like the ocean; I pretend that the traffic on the West Side Highway is the sound of the ocean–it’s very muffled.
Somedays I never make it down to Broadwy; Riverside Park has everything that I need. The upper park has a great promenade; the lower park has a river walk, the boat basin, an incredible cafe and some medicore ones–only opened from Memorial Day, though. The pier on 70th Street is always open, and sometimes I forget that I live in a crowded city.