Lunchtime Walks in the City: A Leisurely Stroll Up Park Avenue

I’d heard about some interesting sculptures installed on Park Avenue so I head east today at lunchtime. What a glorious day it is! 67 degrees, sunny, breezy…blissful.

Park Ave. is a riot of tulips.


And, oh, the intoxicating perfume from that blossoming tree…

The thing about Park Avenue’s tulips is that they don’t  fade or droop or turn brown. All of them are perfect. After dark, some stealth gardener must dig up the ones going bad and replace them by daybreak.

It’s a beautiful day for a walk. I’m in no rush. The first sculpture I encounter is near 60th St. I think the artist’s name is Alexandre Arrachea. I think..because I typed the name into my phone and I’m not sure if it auto-corrected. But I’m pretty sure that’s the name.


At close inspection, it looks to be a sleek skyscraper curled, snakelike, and eating it’s own tail. Hmmm.

Here’s another by the same artist:


Kind of looks like this skyscraper is giving New York the finger.

This one is my favorite. It’s kundalini-like squiggle reminds me of some of Andy Goldworthy’s nature installations:


From living for a while in Los Angeles, my eye is trained to spot a photo shoot at fifty paces. The familiar glare of the spotlights, the RV parked at the curb, the unfolded table topped with chafing dishes ready to feed the crew…all at the corner of 71st and Park.

Whenever I see models in person (which isn’t often), I’m always astonished at just how good looking they are.


Like Charlie’s Angels…alien beings, but captivating…

Hey, here’s a van that must feel right at home on Park Avenue:

AggressiveIn a million years, I would never have put window shades and aggression in the same sentence.


Only on the upper east side (and maybe L.A.) will you find a children’s birthday party doing stroller valet:


I’ll bet no kid goes diaper-less at this party…

The proliferation of foreign consulates and plastic surgery practices on Park has reached critical mass and I am in need of trees and benches and cobblestones and nature gone a bit wilder. I turn up 71th Street and walk toward Fifth Avenue.

Just beyond the corner of 71st, a few construction workers are tooling around up on the scaffolding. One of them is reminiscing aloud about a woman he knows.


“Yvonne…Yvonne…,” he says, dreamily. “Now that’s a first class name. Yvonne…my little croissant…my little croissant with cheese…”


StrandoutpostAs I get closer to my office building, the Strand outpost (always a welcome reappearance with the advent of Spring) comes into view. I love that little book nook but feel guilty because now that I do most of my reading on my iPhone, I don’t buy many paper books.

But, guilt be gone, when I get distracted by two men in conversation standing next to the park. One of them says:

“Dude! I’m trying to help you because I know how it sucks when you have something in your head and you can’t describe it!”

(He’s right, that does kind of suck).

Alas, it’s time to return to work. I cross over Fifth. At 58th Street, I see a bride and groom heading toward the plaza hotel.


Nice day for a wedding…

Before I know it, I’m seated back at my desk. I feel like I need to debriefed. The juxtaposition of my past hour outdoors and the sterility of my beige cubical — is just too much to take in.

Then the  biggest goofball in the office drops by. He checks out my screensaver.

“What’s that a picture of?” he says.

“The Grand Canyon.” Noticing his look of bewilderment, I add, “In Arizona.”

“Oh, the Grand Canyon! Is that the Canadian side or the American side?”


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