“In pure air and under the light of heaven” in Central Park

July 15, 2009

A perfect evening in Central Park

A perfect evening in Central Park (via nytimes.com)

The New York Times brings news today about an evening in the park gone very nearly perfectly right.

It was 6:15 on Tuesday evening, a breezy, golden 77 degrees, and people were streaming into the park with plastic bags of picnic food, like pilgrims bearing offerings, for one of the city’s great summer rites: At 8 p.m., on the grassy oval ringed by oaks, skyscrapers and the almost-too-cute turrets of Belvedere Castle, the New York Philharmonic would start to play. Free.

“It’s really relaxing — and almost therapeutic in a certain kind of way when you’re out running around and having people bump into you in the subway — to have this music under the stars,” Mr. Nerio said. “It almost sounds cheesy, but it’s perfect.”

Olmsted could not have said it better himself:

“Is it doubtful that it does men good to come together in this way in pure air and under the light of heaven, or that it must have an influence directly counteractive to that of the ordinary hard, hustling working hours of town life?”

–  Frederick Law Olmsted, in his 1870 essay,
“Public Parks and the Enlargement of Towns”

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