Ah, summer. It is already here in Manhattan. At least it feels so. And because I am fortunate to live and work close to Central Park, it is a major factor in the way I experience this great city.
In the mornings, I jog around the New York reservoir, which means I jog past the back of the Metropolitan Museum (a lovely trip in itself, past blooming trees and people walking dogs) and then on to the reservoir. I do this on a near-daily basis, so I see a number of the same people every morning. Although we don't actually converse, we acknowledge each other ("lovely day;" "Hello again," etc.), a lovely, civilized way to start the day. I'm aware of my jogging "friends" as we pass each other and it feels like a kind of neighborhood of kindred souls.
When the days get warm as they are now, it's a great pleasure to steal over during the lunch hour and experience the urban gift the park provides: children around the pond of Stuart Little fame, older people chatting on park benches, young people with guitars, joggers, of every stripe. Twenty five million people use the Park at one time or another during the year. That's a lot of parkgoers, each find his own favorite spot (I learned just today that of the many pedestrian bridges in the Park, no two are alike).
New York would not be New York to me without Central Park. It is the heart of this metropolis with its tough exterior, and it is my respite from the concrete, the tall buildings, the rush. Once inside the park, I hear the birds sing, I slow my walking pace, I can be reflective. It's a great place for conversation.
Central Park is the civilizing side of Manhattan. The world should be grateful to Frederick Law Olmsted, its genius designer.