I love Central Park. What’s not to love, really? Well I suppose there are the stinky homeless guys, the piles of horse shit, and the tourists with their never ending photo ops…but how is that different than any other area of Manhattan?
Yesterday was absolutely beautiful. A nice day seems incredibly hard to come by this month what with the rain, clouds, and general ickitude swirling about. Danielle is always up for random adventure, so we met at Columbus Circle for an afternoon of wandering.
As it was the first sunny day in what felt like five bazillion years, every other inhabitant of the tri-state area apparently had the same idea. Then a whole mess of tourists followed suit. Trying to navigate around the skating rink in the stop and go traffic was more nauseating than riding a bus through the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour. We decided to beeline for the band shell and plant our asses in a sunny spot.
To our surprise, the band shell was in use. On the stage sat a drum kit and two DJ stations. I thought at first the drummer was just for show, faking along to the beat, but I was wrong. He was pounding away to whatever DJ #1 was spinning.
DJ#1 was adorable. He had on a little black and white sweater vest with a matching little black and white fedora perched above a set of headphones four times the size of his tiny body. He was having the time of his life.
I’m not sure why DJ#2 was there. I’m not sure DJ#2 knew why he was there, either. That didn’t stop him from randomly scratching with wild abandon at random intervals that seemed completely unrelated to the song that was playing. He was like a Quaker DJ, scratching only when the spirit moved him. You go, DJ#2. Don’t let pesky details like beat or rhythm stop you. The world is your oyster.
Danielle pointed out the Frisbee-a-thon that was taking place to our right. Three guys were spinning, jumping, smacking, and flinging with wild abandon on the pavilion in front of the band shell. One of these three was not like the others. One of these three clearly only did this Frisbee thing on the weekends whereas the other two flung Frisbees for seventeen hours every single day.
My heart went out to the less gifted guy and his red bandanna covered head. Every time he grimaced it made me think of Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump. He grimaced a lot because, well, he wasn’t that good. His compatriots grimaced quite a bit too as they watched his missteps and awkward drops. Lt. Dan didn’t give up though. He didn’t care how many tourists he had to bowl over as he chased the yellow disc around the pavilion, smacking it with wild abandon, trying to get enough spin going to wrangle it onto his taped fingertip.
The passing dogs were exceptionally excited when Lt. Dan had the Frisbee because their odds of mashing their teeth into the hard plastic were so much higher. One particularly strong bull dog dragged his pet human back and forth across the pavilion, following the trajectory of the yellow manna from heaven. Of course, as puppy bull dogs are apt to do, he left piles of white milky vomit all across their playing field. I could have sworn I saw a plastic fork sticking out of one of the piles of puke. The Frisbee guys decided to look for a cleaner space and moved out of our field of vision.
My eyes settled on a tall Asian guy and his huge video camera. He was clad entirely in black except for the hot pink plastic sunglasses perched on the top of his head. He was CLEARLY with the band.
As he panned the crowd for great reactions to the music, he repeatedly paused on a wiry old man gyrating across the plaza. He wore pale acid washed blue jeans held up by a long black belt that flapped as frantically as the rest of his body. A thin white t-shirt hung on his shoulders and a white mesh tracker hat sat high on his gray hair.
He danced like a toddler… or a muppet…or David Byrne. Standing in place with his feet firmly planted, he’d bounce from his knees as the rest of his body flopped in response. Had he been prostrate, I would have sworn he was receiving shock therapy or being attacked with a defibrillator. My mouth hung open in fascination.
Then DJ#1 switched gears and took the music old school disco style. Suddenly the old guy was spinning, head titled back, arms wide. As the music built towards the chorus, he added leaps into the mix. As he channeled a whirling dervish, he spun madly while springing across the gray bricks in a wide circle in front of the band shell. The music slowed as did the old man. Exhausted he settled back into his subtle knee shake with his black sneakers again firmly planted on the ground.
A little bong haired girl in a bright red shirt wriggled free from her mom and inched closer to the old man. Soon the two were shaking in unison, though the old man had no idea he had a fan. He didn’t notice her until she showcased her mad spinning skillz in his line of sight. As Salt and Peppa’s “Push It” thundered across the stones, the two dancers threw back their heads, spinning and leaping around some center point they’d both telepathically agreed upon.
When the dance ended, the little girl offered a slight curtsy and ran back to her mother. The old guy resumed his knee shaking and left the spinning to DJs #1 and #2. We stepped around the piles of milky hurl and watched the setting sun glint off the luxury apartment building on the West Side as we worked our way back to Columbus Circle.