Sunday, March 31, 2013
And this was before going to church!
Inevitably any stroll around Manhattan will conjure up comparisons to Paris - the art and architecture, the parks, the people, the culture. In Central Park I find many of these comparisons converge.
1. People and their dogs. It is said that Paris is dog heaven. But, honestly? My vote goes to New York. Apparently there is a law (or a loophole) that allows dog owners to let well-behaved pooches off-leash in the early morning hours in certain areas of Central Park.
Another more...ardent love that I witnessed was a man on a bench in a semi-icky full frontal embrace with the standard poodle on his lap. But each to his own, I guess.
I will not begin to get involved in much depth in the pooper-scooper stories and comaprisons. Let me just say that in Paris, since almost no one picks up after their Fidos, I always walk with a careful glance to the sidewalk. In all my time in Paris, never a squish. Seriously! In New York, however, since you expect the sidewalks to be clean, you maybe don't pay as much attention underfoot, and --bingo!-- squish on the soles of your Italian ballerina flats on the way to church. For example.
2. For the beauty of the earth. Urban environments can be cold and hard and structured and unyielding. Yet, a few steps into the park, and the city quickly melts away. This is a beauty of Paris, too, with its many parks, pocket gardens and refreshing squares. Today, in the Park, Spring was showing her greatest triumph over winter.
3. For the splendor of the skies. New York streets are veritable urban canyons, impressive yet sometimes daunting in their sheer pressure and overwhelming concrete-and-stone power and glory. It is refreshing to get into open space where you can see the architectural structures from a distance. When you are swallowed up by the buildings and the built environment, it is not as easy to appreciate them. From the middle of the park, it is a moment of awe. Especially contrasted against the Park's Belvedere Castle, in wide-open sky.
4. Shakespeare in love. The Shakespeare garden. Shall I compare it to a springtime day?
A yard for the Bard, a favorite spot in the Park.
It reminds me in some ways of the small grotto-like pocket park just below the Trocadero in Paris.
The Shakespeare in the Park Delacorte Theater is in the background in this photo. You can draw your own comparisons (or not) to the drama of daily life at the Trocadero.
5. Let's fall in love: avian chapter. Yesterday morning on the pond, two mallard drakes were loudly squawking, jabbing, and nipping at each other -- a real macho splashing squabble -- as the female duck paddled demurely on the sidelines. Clearly she was the object of their desires for the upcoming love season, and only one of them was going to win. A love contest! This is no minor tale. Yesterday afternoon I ambled by again on a walk with Harry, and the two males were still sparring, drawing a bit of attention from the now-crowded group on onlookers. Ouch. A battle to the finish.
Yes, and one loser in the alpha-battle for love, who apparently departed the territory. Another Sunday-morning New York City love story? Not limited to New York, of course. It reminded me of these two love-birds in Paris. Attached but showing slight indifference. Ah, love. Just ducky.
6. Harry Loves Sally. Or fill in the blanks.
The trees offer an outlet for a supposedly permanent expression of love. Like a tattoo, but less personally accountable or embarrassing? Or not?
I wonder if any of the couples are still together?
And sometimes I think that the other, more ineffable expressions of love -- the greetings, the kisses, the pats, the hugs, the shared joy, the planting of exuberant perennial flowers for others to enjoy -- mean so much more than a moment's profession of heart-shaped love with a pen-knife on stolen tree bark.
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