Boy, it began to rain like a bastard. In buckets, I swear to God. All the parents and mothers and everybody went over and stood right under the roof of the carrousel, so they wouldn’t get soaked to the skin or anything, but I stuck around on the bench for quite a while. I got pretty soaking wet, especially my neck and my pants. My hunting hat really gave me quite a lot of protection, in a way, but I got soaked anyway. I didn’t care, though. I felt so damn happy all of a sudden, the way old Phoebe kept going around and around. I was damn near bawling, I felt so damn happy, if you want to know the truth. I don’t know why. It was just that she looked so damn nice, the way she kept going around and around, in her blue coat and all. God, I wish you could’ve been there.
–J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye
The passing of J.D. Salinger has, unsurprisingly, made me gather my copies of his works and pore through them as anyone who loved his writing would be inclined to do, but my initial reaction was to ponder how his stories contributed to my love of New York–to move beyond the childhood yearning I allude to in our about page and appreciate that living in this city requires healthy doses of wonder and cynicism.
Take, for example, me taking this photo: we were walking along towards the carousel when I noticed some guy with a dSLR capturing something akin to this view. I wasn’t even paying attention until I saw him and looked at what he was photographing, I was taken by how beautiful the vantage was and subsequently remarked upon it. Because he clearly had a better camera (and therefore a better lens), it was obvious that the guy with the better camera was giving me some looks for daring to try to capture the same vista.
Well, you know what? [Expletive deleted] him and his hiker backpack–we were there with our shopping bags because we were going to Fairway later, and it was obvious that he was just a tourist.
It felt appropriate, because we were on a little literary tour of sorts of Central Park; specifically, certain places that were mentioned in The Catcher in the Rye as that’s the first of the Salinger books I’m going to reread during my daily commutes. So I naturally wanted to visit the Central Park Carousel and the lagoon near Central Park South that houses the ducks of Holden Caulfield’s mild obsession:
I live in New York, and I was thinking about the lagoon in Central Park, down near Central Park South. I was wondering if it would be frozen over when I got home, and if it was, where did the ducks go? I was wondering where the ducks went when the lagoon got all icy and frozen over. I wondered if some guy came in a truck and took them away to a zoo or something. Or if they just flew away.
I wonder why he focused on this particular pond in the Park…then I saw the view. Michael told me that 2010 is the year of living it up in New York, and this is just the beginning of the festivities: we intend to indulge ourselves in the glory that is the city, to venture forth and experience what we can, and live in a sense of wonder that is somewhat required when living for a short period in Manhattan.
Any particular favorite places to visit in the city? Tell us them in the comments.
The ducks, incidentally, were accounted for, as seen in the photos above.