I took a detour along 66th further to the East, to be sure not to miss what the Central Park borderline offered. Just inside of the park, along this entrance, I witnessed dedicated runners braving the dimness of dusk to fulfill whatever personal obligation each one held, motivating him to be here on a Friday night as opposed to any of the many bars that could have been found within a very small radius. Along with runners, I saw elderly couples and most probably tourist groups, riding unbothered in horse-drawn carriages along the park’s path. Despite the growing controversy around the use of these carriages, I’ve always wanted to take at least one ride. I snapped a picture (that did not turn out) to remind myself that here is where I could find one should I ever subdue my conscience long enough to satisfy my curiosity. To the left of where I was, sat Tavern on the Green, a glittering restaurant/bar that exuded “high society” and literally oozed smooth jazz. Again, more pictures, to hold on to the fact that this oasis of “class” existed amongst the layman’s activities happening directly outside of its elegant terrace.
Having left the park, Central Park West became my means for getting further uptown. I passed by one of the Upper West’s most famous landmarks. The Dakota, named so because its then remoteness resembled that of the Dakota Territory. Originally well-known for its exclusivity, it is now best known as the site of John Lennon’s 1980 assassination. Pausing a moment to take in the building, its magnificence and its legacy, I tried to imagine that day in 1980 and the chaos that would have so quickly overshadowed all that this site had originally been given credit for. Recently I had read the short story, Bombing Sarajevo, which details the life of the people of the Balkan region pre and post its civil war. As I stood outside of this iconic building, I thought of the two main characters of the story, Vilac and Biogradlic, and what life had been like in their country before the war, and realized how quickly things that seem unchangeable can change, but also that the uphill battle that most certainly follows tends to be worthwhile. This is true regardless of whether you’re a city who has been robbed of a legend or two men who simply want to better their country by way of winter sports.