Monday, May 25, 2009

The Blog is Back! Sunday in the Park with Joan

(if you click on the photos they get bigger)

I haven’t written an entry since the weekend of "Brides and Pirates in New Orleans" and that was about six weeks ago! But I haven’t given up on the travels of A Rolling Crone.I had several writing deadlines and a hurricane of activity getting ready for our family trip to Greece but the deadlines were met (pretty much) and now I’m in Athens with Eleni and Marina waiting for Nick to arrive. Then we’re off to Mykonos for a wedding but I’ll tell you about that then.

Right now I want to celebrate Central Park the way it looked about four weeks ago. Everyone in Manhattan, young or old, flocked into the Park to savor the briefest but most glorious season in New York as Spring burst into bloom. There were horseback riders and bikers, brides and painters, boaters and picnickers, bands and singers and comedians and lots of pets. Nearly every year I visit the Park to photograph this evanescent miracle. This time I started off from daughter Eleni’s apartment on 80th and Third, stopped by Eli’s for an old-fashioned sugar cone, admired the flowers outside the brownstones. (One of them –double size—was just bought Madonna for a reported 40 million dollars.)

Into the Park by the Metropolitan Museum with background music by African steel drums. Children and their parents climbed over the Alice in Wonderland Statue (I used to take my kids to story hours there) and the statue of Hans Christian Anderson (I think that’s who he is—hence the goose?) On to the toy boat lake where you rent a remote-controlled sailboat. I headed toward the big lake and the Boat House Restaurant. (We had such fun there at a recent lunch watching Eleni’s godson Demosthenakis feeding everything he could get his hands on to the GIANT gold fish and turtles who live in the lake.)

Outside the Boathouse were a bride and groom posing under a blossoming cherry tree, and sunbathers and artists galore on the banks of the lake as rowboats sailed past. On to my favorite spot—Bethesda Fountain, watched over by the Angel of the Waters. (Those are healing waters-- you may remember the important role of the Angel in the TV version of "Angels in America".)

For forty-five years Central Park has been part of my life. Back when I was single, I was at a press party at Tavern on the Green when the first great New York Blackout hit. As we sat by candlelight, Nick, who lived nearby, came to rescue me. (That was the good black-out when everyone behaved valiantly. The second blackout—the bad one, when there was looting—was in July 1977 when I was married to Nick and in New York Hospital with a new-born Marina. The only lights visible in the city were in the hospitals, with their own generators.)

My kids grew up with the Carousel and the pony rides and the Children’s Zoo—I was there with other mourners when they closed the Zoo for its makeover.

Just last summer I stood in line for hours one summer morning at the DellaCorte Theater to score FREE tickets to a wonderful outdoor performance of the rock musical Hair—forty years after I saw it for the first time. The revival was magical. Now it’s on Broadway. And definitely not free!

They call Central Park the lungs of the city but to me it’s always been its heart.

In two days—photos and a celebration of Athens.