A Walk In The Rain

August 12, 2001

Tonight walking home in the rain, New York was everything it's supposed to be. The streets were slick with water reflecting the lights of a thousand taxicabs. Lightning overhead shone up at us from puddles between the cobblestones as we walked along 59th street, south of the park. The tourists thin out here the further we get from 5th Avenue. Horses and their carriages stand idle in the gutter while their owners talk on cell phones under umbrellas. It would've been nice to cut north through Central Park, to leave the noises of the city behind and enter an enchanted world of glistening trees and misty lamp posts, but Simon and Garfunkel warn that it's not safe to wander after dark.

Our three-dollar umbrella that we bought in yesterday's downpour was already showing signs of age. Water was seeping through the flimsy fabric and dripping down on us. It was still raining harder outside our meager shelter than in, so we squeezed close and walked on. I guess you get what you pay for, and this model hawked on street corners throughout the city is apparently designed to last only ten blocks. We were on our eleventh block of the night's walk when we passed Columbus Circle and decided not to get the subway home. The night was just too magical to spend down in a sweaty hole waiting for the train.

We turned onto Central Park West and continued north, keeping the park on our right. The lightning increased, illuminating the buildings high overhead. Leaves from the trees covered the black sidewalk hinting at what Fall will be like. We counted off the blocks, dodging puddles and feeling the rain in our shoes. Finally we turned onto the quiet of W. 76th, and half a block down to our door.

Our clothes hang to dry in the shower now as the rain continues outside. The heat of last week's summer is gone, and the city is transformed into a Steichen photograph, elegant, majestic and a little softer. New York City opened up tonight, and stretched herself up into the clouds.


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