Fifth Avenue

I walk a lot. If I have to meet someone in a restaurant I walk, even if it is thirty blocks. If I need to pick up something in a store after work, I walk, regardless of how many blocks. Several times per week, I also walk from work to home. It is sixty blocks. Walking these long distances is a newish thing and I have come to treasure it. One of my favorite stretches of walk, especially at night, is Fifth Avenue. When walking uptown, to the right of the avenue, in the low sixties, one sees the Pierre Hotel, the large private clubs and extraordinary living quarters. The magnificent apartment buildings continue in the seventies and all the way up the avenue. Disbursed in between are well-known museums, like the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the Neue Galerie. The apartment buildings are grand, most of them built around the 1900s. Each is adorned with a small, exquisite entrance, guarded by two uniform-clad doormen. Of course, this is one of the most expensive living areas in New York City and one can sense the wealth, but, to me, more importantly, there is a sense of time having stood still.

On the other side of the avenue is the park; mysterious and, at night, quiet like Fifth Avenue itself. One can observe flickers of lights from the windows of the apartment houses on the Upper West Side along Central Park West; the west side is not really that far away. The park is not at all inviting at night, yet I find it strangely appealing and fairytale-like with the large, dark trees swaying solemnly, branches reaching high in the evening sky. There is something about Fifth Avenue at night; the park on one side, the large houses on the other, the avenue in between, the silence. When I walk here, I think a lot. Sometimes I stop for a moment, throw a glance at a beautiful little tree in front of a building or sneak a peek into a curtain-clad window higher up. Then I continue walking.

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Bridal Path

I gave my dog his monthly bath and headed out to the park. He was all fluffy, looked like a bear; I stopped twice, lifted him up on a bench, and brushed him. I walked towards the Engineers Gate, which is one of the East Side entrances, my steps purposeful. I was headed towards a certain part of the Bridal Path, one short stretch I knew must be drenched in pink at this time of the year. It is one of the short parts of the Bridal Path that is lined with cherry trees. For those of you who don’t know Central Park, the Bridal Path runs adjacent to the Reservoir Path, both are great running paths with surfaces consisting of dried mud. But back to the cherry trees. They had already bloomed! I looked up in the sky, saw a few flowers still scattered in the trees, then looked down on the ground, a few petals under my feet. Pah! Was this possible? Had I missed the cherry tree blooming this year? It seemed that way. Gloomily, I dragged my feet, my UGGS too hot for the weather, the dog still fluffy. I brushed him again. Somehow he got off the leash then and started running around in circles, ran down towards the lawn, me after him, shouting for him to come back. He didn’t listen, ran happily and greeted people and dogs, tail high in the air. Finally, I caught him and I swear, he looked like he was smiling widely. Who cares about cherry trees, when one was lucky enough to be in the possession of a smiling and very fluffy dog who was so obviously happy that Spring had arrived.