Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Highline, Central Park Concert, A Fight and A Fire - July 29

I'm winding down my visit to New York.  I've had only a small sampling of the big apple has to offer, but I'm a traveler who likes to take it easy rather than rush around. I want to savor the sites and sounds.

From my reading, it seems that railroads were quite the challenge and threat in Manhattan's early days, which is part of the reason why the subways were built. In 1930, Manhattan decided to move the railroad tracks 30 feet above the streets. Do you remember any of the old 1930's movies where people lived along side the tracks that were above ground?

Highline trail/park
Trains have not used the tracks since the 1980's. During the 1990's it appeared to some that the sensible thing to do was to tear down the unsightly tracks. Other people had a different idea and formed the Friends of the Highline.

What was once a 30 feet above ground railway system, is now a foot passenger park and garden.  I stroll the Highline, have lunch in the area and make my way to Central Park.

Each Sunday in Central Park there is a free concert. This week the concert celebrates the Latinos of New York. I discover most are from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.

There is plenty of security, the NYPD, private security and guardian angels with their jaunty red caps. I'm about to photograph two guardian angels when they suddenly run in the direction of the entry gate, as do many other people.

I decide to stay put knowing someone will report the goings on and I will be able to overhear what was happening. The interpretation of an individual can be more entertaining anyway.

Soon, a woman returns to report to her friends. Two white guys had too much to drink, a Latino bartender refused to sell them any more alcohol. They became angry and attacked the Latino. Suddenly this is a race issue. The Latinos around me express their indignity in both Spanish and English.

Fabulous view from Central Park
The concert seems to take forever to begin. I'm tired of waiting and decide to continue my long journey through the park and eventually to Jane Darling's.

I take the bus part of the way; the bus that can deliver me to 125th Street does not run on weekends. And so it is that I will walk from 110th Street to 125th. When I get off the bus I notice, perhaps thirty, maybe forty, fire and rescue trucks. I notice on the side of some of the trucks is written "high rise rescues" I had not thought about it until this moment, but a high-rise fire is very complicated.

I don't continue my walk north on Madison to 125th, but instead walk one block west to 5th Avenue to avoid whatever is going on.

I ask Jane about this, and she tells me that with all the heat and no rain, that is until I arrived in the city, there has been more than the usual number of high-rise fires.

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