On any given day, it will take less than three hours to walk the perimeter of New York's 843-acre Central Park, as I did on Sunday. To see it all, however, will take a lifetime.
Among the sights: picnickers; popsicle carts; topless sunbathers (European tourists); robins feasting on scattered scraps of white bread; mountain bike teams whizzing by in identical Spandex; long-distance runners; long-distance power walkers; long-distance wheelchair riders; four generations gathered for a reunion under a specimen pin oak; skate boarders; shuffle boarders; a quarter-mile-long line of Shakespeare lovers waiting for free tickets to As You Like It; boys fishing in the Harlem Meer; girls practicing soccer kicks; several lively seniors' doubles tennis matches, and pit bulls straining at their barbed choked collars as appetizer lap dogs prance past.
What does Central Park mean to you? At 7 o'clock tonight, several writers will answer that question, in the third-floor rare books room of the Strand Bookstore at 828 Broadway (at 12th St.), as they read from a new anthology of essays, edited by Andrew Blauner, called Central Park.
Above: Eighteen writers contributed essays to Central Park: An Anthology. The book is $9.94 from Amazon. Reading tonight will be City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, a contributor, along with writers Thomas Beller, Ben Dolnick, John Burnham Schwartz, and Susan Sheehan.
Above: Central Park in early spring, looking south toward the Plaza Hotel. Image by Doug Kerr, via Flickr.
Above: The gates to the Conservatory Garden. An idyllic spot, it remains undiscovered by the hordes of tourists who populate the southern end of the park. Image by Ccho, via Flickr.
Above: Lily pads at the Conservatory Garden. Image by Chris 9, via Flickr.