Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Ahead

Bloomed Buds
We've now sprung one hour ahead, the days have elongated by an hour, and I've only 2.5 months left in New York. I've seen most of the city and its residential counterparts, but I am still short of some fundamental 'NY' experiences- jogging in Central Park. It's almost a '100 things to do before you die' commitment; this iconic past time/routine is an embedded part of the NY living, and is a great joy with unclouded weather. I now frequent my local park and lace around the high/low lying paths, confronting other joggers sewed into latex; nannies and babies; hot dog carts and canines.

Unless you know your way around the park, a seamless jog can lead you to the unknown sections of the park, which can be fun, but can deviate from the focus of the activity. The most appropriate place to jog is around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir. Its physical schema takes shape of a jogger's typical track: a 1.58 mile track that encircles the 106-acre body of water, framed in a rectangular shape, with a few grooves and curves protruding the parameters.

To get to this part of the park, take the C/B trains to W86 st. Alternatively, on the East side, take the 6 to E86 st.
Though a killer spot for 'Manhattan' shots, it is primarily a running track, so I felt really awkward taking photos with the runners tracing around me. Normally I come virtually 'hands free' and jog around 3 times in my own world, and it's fantastic. The best part is, that nobody cares how fast, or how far you run- each to their own. I'm not a runner or jogger by nature, but I find myself frequenting the track more and more of late, and loving the 4.5 mile challenge. Above all things, it is vital to escape the flickering glare of the box, and venture to the natural world.

The flat gravel path allows for a convenient jog, but make sure you adhere to the rules and track the path in a counterclockwise direction- the tourists and rule avoiding schmucks will annoy you indefinitely. If the track isn't bursting at the seams, it can be such a pleasant afternoon of puffing some 02 and gathering your thoughts with 360' of nature- and a few interruptions of mans creations in the horizon. I for one, get so immersed in the meditative atmosphere, that my pace increases unknowingly, and my ability and agility strengthen without even thinking about it. It beats the four walled gyms any day.

Perhaps the most anticipated stretch of the path is in the northern regions, as the Midtown skyline occupies every inch of the lateral background, and the foreground too, with its reflections on the water surface. It makes for the best photo opportunity in the city.

Even if clouds do happen to stain the sky, the experience is by no means hindered by this, because this track has unparalleled beauty, and what could easily be a mundane effort turns into effortless enjoyment. To top this off, on one of my jogs, the guy in front of me snorted up a ball of spit and catapulted it onto a leafy shrub, where the spit string dangled momentarily but dropped by the bodies of air blowing past it, and gathered on the ground as yet another spit stamp in the city.You do brush past some interesting folk- that's all New York and I love it.

For the days when you simply want to zen and zone out in solo form, go ahead and appreciate this treasure, and feel lucky that you are in New York.

By Sana Sadique

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