My Los Angeles friends and family are politely stifling yawns and trying to look interested at this point. But here in the east, we've just barely escaped a winter that was like one of those nightmares where you stumble around a maze-like space in total darkness, being tortured with brief glimpses of daylight but never quite managing to get there.
To me, the highest and best use of a 77-degree sunny day in New York is to spend it in Central Park.
We took the 1 train up to West 103rd Street. I've never approached the park from there before. I love the way the geology looms up at you—a startling mountain of schist exploding along Central Park West next to a street light and a Subaru.
The park is lush and woodsy up in those reaches, with lovely pockets of solitude—a gray-haired woman sat on a log reading peacefully, her German Shepherd at her feet—and a sylvan Children's Glade that provides a view almost reminiscent of the island hundreds of years ago (with a Narnia-like lamppost for intrigue).
A wood-chip path and a dogwood in full bloom led us out of the Glade and onto the Great Hill, where Frisbee players and picnickers and a great gaggle of guitarists were in full throttle.
Along about 86th Street, it became clear that 70% of the universe had woken up this morning and said, "You know what would be a good idea? Walking slowly four abreast through Central Park!"
So we zig-zagged back to Central Park West and over to Columbus Avenue in search of a sidewalk cafe. Refreshed with one Negra Modelo (My Beloved) and a margarita that was 9 parts rum and 1 part ice cubes (me), plus a bowl of pozole (My Beloved) and three carnitas soft tacos (me), we wove toward the subway and caught the 1 train back home.
The park was gorgeous, but I'm not sure it was as gorgeous as this woman on the train. I asked permission to take her photograph, saying, "You look so beautiful!" The woman in the Yankees shirt sitting next to her slid one seat over and said, "I'll get out of the way since I'm not so beautiful."
"Are you dressed for an event?" I asked her.
"I went to church," she said. "Happy Mother's Day."
Or as I call it, Happy Day.
** Click any photo to enlarge and see slideshow.