Catching a glimpse of Midtown Manhattan from the northern end of the Great Lawn as I was walking across Central Park, I was reminded why I’ve always loved this particular view.
Years ago, long before the Great Lawn was rehabilitated (it took way longer than 28 days!), this was the site for outdoor events great and small. It still is.
What’s different is that in the “old” days, the stage would be set up on the southern end of the lawn, in front of Turtle Pond, with Belvedere Castle and the magnificent Midtown Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.
Sitting on a blanket in the midst of Nature, a picnic supper, a bottle wine, and a new love at my side, listening to Beethoven’s Fidelio sung by the talented performers of the Metropolitan Opera. Enjoying one of the many concerts the NY Philharmonic Orchestra gave over the years, getting to the park early to save a place for the party that would join me later, banners and helium-filled balloons marking the spot in the days before cell phone navigation was available. Watching Diana Ross, electrifying in her orange jumpsuit, with her hair wildly whipping about her head, seeming to be electrified by the storm that stopped that concert, and the mad dash for the park’s exits as the rain pelted down on us and we got out of the open field as quickly as possible through the flashing lightning bolts.
It was the splendor of the Midtown Manhattan skyline behind the stage that held me in thrall. To be simultaneously in the middle of the most exciting city in the Universe (we New Yorkers are not humble when it comes to our city), held within the comforting embrace of lawn, trees, and stars is just about as perfect an integration of Heaven and Earth, Inner and Outer, Heaven on Earth, as I can experience…in public…
After the Great Lawn rehab, the staging of events has been moved to the northern end of the Lawn. The road access to bring in the needed heavy equipment is better. The lawn, the trees, the stars are still there; however, now, one has to crane one’s neck or turn one’s back to the performers to enjoy that place reference. Without that skyline, one could be at just any outdoor event, anywhere. It’s no longer Heaven on Earth…