Sunday, April 25, 2010

Central Park at Night

Karen and I have gotten into a pleasant habit this spring of strolling through Central Park after dark. At night, the Park has a beauty all its own. The twists and turns of its many pathways can be seen up ahead, illuminated by the streetlamps that dot the Park, but with various sections shrouded in darkness as well. There is something both serene and mysterious about the Park at this time. It is hardly deserted, yet much less crowded than during the day, and there is a hush in the Park, though not completely free of that ever-present urban hum, that both caresses and calms its nocturnal denizens.

The most spectacular thing about the Park at night are the views of the City seen from its picturesque bridges or reflected in the Park's many placid, silvery ponds. To view the urban towers that encircle the Park from its dark and hushed confines offers a perspective on the City that excites the imagination. The darkening sky, too, with its strange violet hues draws your eyes upward, as does the moon, with its saffron coloring and pock-marked surface, casting a dim light that somehow dominates the whole experience.

Ambling through the Park on a cool spring evening feels at times like walking through a story book. It is all too perfect to be real, all too well planned and aesthetically pleasing to be part of everyday life, but there it is almost every night available to anyone. It is free and easily accessible, and although a few parts are closed off after dark, most of this vast urban playground is there for the asking. It is one of the great joys of New York City. Ineffable. Incomparable. Inexhaustible.

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