Sunday, November 20, 2016

Central Park's Lost Playground

When Samuel and I did our Central Park Playground Challenge (running through sprinklers at every Central Park West playground from 100th Street to 81st Street), I wondered why there was such a big gap with no playgrounds between 81st and 67th Streets.

I found a map that indicated there had once been a playground just north of West 77th Street.

Like most Central Park playgrounds, it had been constructed in the 1930s by controversial city planner Robert Moses--some say as a way to keep kids within enclosed areas of concrete and chain link fence where they couldn't wreak havoc on the rest of the park.

But there are enough people bashing Robert Moses that we don't need to pile on.

Suffice it to say that there was supposedly a playground north of West 77th Street.

Notice I said supposedly.

I searched the city library archives to find a photo, and the only one I found was this mangled, spider-webby image:

I tried to mentally locate it and I couldn't. I recognized the church, the Kenilworth at 151 CPW, and the San Remo at 146 CPW. But something looked wrong. The problem: they were in the wrong order.

Flipping the picture gave me this image:


But that's not north of West 77th Street, as indicated by the map. It's south of West 77th Street.

Here's what it looks like today:

Here's the old photo superimposed over the new:

Mystery solved. Long live playgrounds. Long live Central Park.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Saturday walk with Ethan

" I don't think we as a species have a right to make anything out of denim except jeans."

My post-birthday gift

I needed a gift to myself. It's a Frank Lloyd Wright blueprint and elevation rendering from 1942. Not in great shape, so I'll have to figure out how to press and frame it.

I have always loved the graceful lines of his architecture. But I think he was an arrogant a-hole.

I wish for his sake that he had been a decent human being. "Am I going to be an artist or a human being?" It's not an either-or choice. Being a decent human being should be the price of admission, and any other accomplishments you layer on top of that.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Exhale and move forward

There are a few stressful things going on in my life at the moment, and I won't bore you with details, but I needed some time and space to clear my mind and exhale.

I spent the weekend at a writer's retreat in upstate New York. I saw some old friends and colleagues, got away from the rest of my life for a little bit, and just enjoyed the part of me that's a children's author. That's the part of me that is optimistic and idealistic, that believes in kindness and laughter and unconditional love. It is the well-lit side of my soul. I want the whole world to be that world.

The human heart is fragile. We need the things that anchor us to this earth to continue to anchor us to this earth. 

I am grateful, and I vow to move forward with an open heart.