Bryant Park is easily one of my favorite places in the city so far. I've gotten in the habit of riding the 7 train one stop from Grand Central (just a few blocks) because I love emerging from the subway along the row of trees on 42nd Street. As you arise from the concrete tunnels, the skyscrapers part to reveal tree-lined sidewalks, a sparkling fountain and adorable brick walkways that frame the manicured lawn and are sprinkled with cafe tables, chairs and benches along the entire perimeter of the park.
In the mornings, New Yorkers stroll about the park sipping their lattes, scan the tables for coworkers they might be meeting for breakfast, sit on scattered chairs or benches reading The New York Post or The Times, or race across the park as a short-cut between 41st and 42nd Street. On Friday at approximately 8:30 a.m., Good Morning America hosts their "Friday Morning Summer Concert Series." You can catch Beyonce or Mariah Carey on stage before dipping into the office.
In the afternoon, the park is dappled with blankets and folding chairs. The air smells of grilled chicken and cobb salad. Business men and women with their laptops, Trios, and Sidekicks. Mothers and baby carriages. Interns on cell phones. Veteran chess players. Tourists with cameras. All around you are chattering cliques, solitary readers or napping suits and ties.
In the evenings, coworkers and friends are meeting for drinks at the Bryant Park Cafe. On Monday nights, a classic movie is featured on a giant screen on one end of the lawn.
Today on my lunch break, I drifted throughout the park, snacking on a piece of pita bread from Cosi and watching life. People-watching has become a new hobby of mine. In the South, I never really took the time to pause and observe what was happening around me. And I mean really observe situations or circumstances that did not concern me whatsoever. I did not take much notice in what other people were doing unless it directly or indirectly affected me somehow. I was so wrapped up in my own little worlds [family and friends and high school, then college and later my job(s)]. I don't mean that I was oblivious, but there is a difference between knowing what is going on and actually paying attention.
How ironic? I moved to one of the fastest cities in the world before I finally figured out how to slow down.