Is there an urban run in America better than Central Park? I managed to sneak in a couple of them this week. With the leaves beginning to show and the temps in the 80s, it was glorious. (Favorite scene this time: a presumably just-married tuxedoed groom and bride in white walking off together…alone.)
While Central Park has inspired many emotions that have found their way into books, songs, and movies, the word that always comes to mind while I am circumventing part or all of its 6-mile loop (you can tailor any distance you want), is foresight.
Foresight? Yeah, it just amazes me that the powers that be way back in the 50s… that’s eighteen-50s… had the foresight to say, “OK, here’s the deal: we’re going to set aside this 850-acre, 51-block (59th Street to 110th) area solely for purposes of… our recreation. We’ll have ponds, gardens, pathways, etc. But developers (If that was even a word then.) will have to do their thing elsewhere.
Other cities had the same inclination, but they just didn’t think big enough. I have had a soft spot for the Boston Common and its Swan Boats ever since my mother read me to sleep with “Make Way for Ducklings.” However, because they thought small, the city’s growth has come to dwarf The Common. San Francisco’s Golden Gate qualifies on the size (and beauty) count, but getting to it can be quite a production.
New York stands alone due the hard-and-fast (pre-Civil War!) decision to make it big and put it right smack-dab-in-the-middle of everything. The end result is an extremely rare (and perhaps oxymoronic) combination: timeless cool.
Onward, Malcolm Gauld