Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Final Solution: Central Park in the Time of Corona

Central Park South (photo:) B137
It's an understatement to say there's something eternal about the weathered underpasses which weave through the Southern end of Central Park. They’re part of a magical kingdom which has outlived both the lives and childhood out of which memories of trips to the zoo, the Carousel and the skating ring have been created. Central Park West itself is lined with iconic structures like the Plaza and the New York Athletic Club. It’s all like some sort of grand theatrical urban choreography with the park furnishing its perennial respite from the machinations of big business that often go on in these nearby auspicious and expensive structures. In the time of corona, the park seems more luxurious than ever, furnishing as it does an oasis from the abandonment which has occurred as life in the city has come to a halt. Theater row may be dormant but the park carries on as if nothing untoward were occurring. Moreover, there’s little fear. For such a huge metropolis Olmstead’s sequestered garden offers a spaciousness that while not immune to the contingencies of viruses still affords the kind of natural expanse in which "normal seeming" life can be carried on. On a recent afternoon, a family attended to an infant while a couple flirted on a nearby bench, as if time had come to a complete stop in its own safe haven.

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