inspired by Alister Cooke's 'Letter from America'; in honour of Alister Cooke and Colin Sparke, the original bloggers, who have gone to the big web page in the sky.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
It was 16F (-8C) in the Park this morning
From today's NY Times: They bent into the wind, a parade of defiant-looking runners shuffling through Central Park just before dawn on one of the coldest days of the week. They had smothered their skin beneath layers of high-tech and higher-color clothing. They were not exactly sweating as much as steaming. They looked so cold.
There was just one more day till March, but the temperature was only 19 degrees (still, one man wearing shorts declared, this was better than some other days). The reservoir was a shining expanse of white. Most paths were paved with a sheet of ice.
No one wanted to stop. But if a reporter kept pace for a seven-minute mile or two, some would explain what on earth they were doing out there.
Roni Selig, a senior executive producer at CNN, had risen at 4:20 a.m. to meet her friend Rebecca Ajavananda, a managing director at the private equity firm StepStone, at the park at 5:30. They were training for a half-Ironman triathlon and a marathon. “This is the only time I can be away from my computer and have no one bother me,” Selig said. “This winter has been longer, and colder, and the ice is really nasty. But come spring when the park is crowded again, we’ll be in better shape.”
As the sun came up, more runners emerged around the park, like 46-year-old Mark Koans. As streetlights flickered off and night turned into morning, the predawn set dominated by bankers and lawyers diversified.
Gisela Mandl, a 61-year-old personal assistant to a wealthy family in the city, ran alone, smiling. “Running out here is invigorating,” she said. “It makes me feel alive.”
“Every day when I get up and it’s 10 degrees, I’m so grateful I can be out here,” she added. She began her run at 6:30, as she has done every day for the past 30 years, and prefers the winter solitude.
Down the road, Beth Isaac, a 37-year-old pharmacist, had run into her friend Ashley Barnish, 27, who works for Capital One. Pausing to chat, they shivered as frost formed on their clothes, but they stood by their choice of park over gym. “The treadmill is so boring,” Isaac said. “Who wants to spend their mornings staring at a wall?”
As the sun rose, the park filled with so many runners that it seemed there was nothing unusual about spending hours outdoors in weather that freezes sweat to eyelashes and turns noses into faucets.
Besides, in a few months the same roads will be clogged to the point of impassability, with bikers and walkers and runners back from the gym. At least until it gets too hot.