Prospect Park – Pt. 1

Boathouse Interior - Prospect Park

   Prospect Park, the picnic tables.

   Sun, warmth – up in the high 70’s. Park full of women with baby carriages, hundreds of kids on the green playing baseball. White women, mostly white kids on the green then dozens of black schoolkids traipsing in behind their teacher from Crown Heights on the other side of the park.

   Some big white woman admonishing her child somewhere in the background: “It is NOT cool to be naked in the park . . .” That nasal American voice.

   Hard to believe I’ve been away for a year and a half and I really don’t know what I’ll find. This city can change so much in a few months, never mind a year and a half. Of course a part of me expects to find it just as I left it – but it’s changed, and I’ve changed as well.

   So quiet here. Maybe it just seems that way after a year and a half in London, which has become an impossibly noisy city, but I don’t remember anywhere in Brooklyn being this quiet. Even on the 7th Ave, the main shopping street through this gentrified burg, the congestion is like nothing you’d seen in the equivalent  – East Dulwich say – in London.

   People so much more pleasant than in London. The little kindnesses in the stores – the Korean woman tying up the bag of miso soup so it won’t spill. Sense of a calmer culture, despite everything.

   Trees hardly budding yet. Everything grey, even in the sunshine. Like so many times I’ve come back to New York, it takes a couple of weeks to get back into the flow of the city, for the city to come alive in me and me to come alive in the city.