A Slice of Life in Central Park

| November 20, 2010
A performer in Central Park

A performer in Central Park

I have never really been able to appreciate Central Park. A few minutes here and there crammed between meetings and dinner engagements. This time was different. I planned to spend some quality time meandering it’s pathways to have a real experience.

All in, I spent 10 hours over two days in the park and loved every minute of it. I don’t think it was just the waning color of the trees bracing for winter or their leaves blowing in bursts on the currents of mild autumn breezes that made it so wonderful. It was also seeing people enjoying the park’s tranquility among the chaos.

This day, the Mall seemed to be the best place for a slice of life in the park. The sound of a park performer, shown above, playing a tenor sax lead me there like the Pied Piper. I wonder if he is doing what he loves. I would like to think so. He seemed to be having a good time and was appreciative when I dropped a 10 and a card in his case for the privilege of taking a piece of him home through my lens.

Shooting with my not so conspicuous 100-400mm glass, I gave our player space. It gave me an opportunity to see and capture how others were reacting to him. Several folks stopped to take a picture and graciously drop a tip in his case. Several others paused to chat or just listen on a nearby bench. Some seemed to have a hint of criticism or curiosity on their faces.

A sax man and his curious onlookers

A performer in central park

The Mall is a park freeway of sorts that conveniently takes folks past your lens from one place to another. While taking these images, I also fired a few frames that would have been missed without the gift of patience. It was nice to just sit there and take it in. I tried to make the experience less about me and more about my subjects. What’s more, I had time to conjure up amazing stories observing life in the park. From someone looking as if their world was about to collapse to couples embracing on a park bench without a care, Central Park is rich with stories made possible by the diversity of its temporary inhabitants.

I love this shot of a woman with her dog perched on the fence. She loves that dog and it shows in one two-hundredths of a second.

A woman and her dog in Central Park

A woman and her dog in Central Park

Then there was this one of a mom briskly escorting her adorable children to somewhere important as they exclaimed that the trees were starting to get bare.

Mon and her girls walking in Central Park

Mom and her girls walking in Central Park

This one of Spiderman and Mary Jane takes the cake. I honestly did not think he was real. Other than the slightly tattered and not so form fitting super-hero costume, you would think this was straight out of the movie. I think she really likes him. Pretty precious that she is willing to look beyond appearances to appreciate the person behind the mask.

Spiderman in Central Park

Spiderman in Central Park

Nearing the end of my visit, I became enamored with the grotesque shapes of the bare trees that lined the Mall and the ominous visual presentation they created as park goers walked beneath the canopy of tentacle like branches.

Ladies walking in Central Park

Ladies walking in Central Park

While making my exit as the day’s light began to fade, the remaining lights along the Mall illuminated as if they were inviting me to take one more shot. Most everyone was gone. With a final click I said goodby to a wonderful day feeling filled with a new found appreciation for this great city and the the park its cherishes so much.

Night shot in Central Park

Night shot in Central Park


Category: Photography, Travel

Comments (9)

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  1. Heath O'Fee says:

    Great series of images and words to go with them. I particularly like the one of the dog and owner…such a great moment!

  2. Lee says:

    Thanks for the visit Heath and the feedback on the series. Always fun to have a new comment on the blog! I admit I got a big smile on my face when her dog started leaning on the fence and she gave him a big kiss!

  3. Jean Nelson says:

    Wow! What a wonderful series of images. You have an eye for great composing and capturing the moment. Love your musings, too.

  4. Lee says:

    Thanks Jean. Being there is half the battle. The rest is fast focus and holding the camera steady. Pretty fun to get a few interesting shots in the batch!

  5. Nancie says:

    Fantastic work Lee, I really enjoyed this series in the park. You really captured NYC at it’s best – it’s the people and their stories. The city has a million of them and you managed to capture a few, and you gave us, the viewer, a slice into the life that you found from your park bench. You are an excellent story teller. Thank you!

  6. Julie Hill says:

    Lee…these photos are great. I enjoyed them…very inspiring for the painter within

  7. Lee says:

    Hi Nancie! I hoped you would stop by since this is in your neighborhood. I always love getting a local perspective and I appreciate your comments!

    Hi Julie. Hope all is well. It has been a while! Thanks for the visit and the kind words. So glad you like the shots. It is fun to share them!

    Take care,

  8. Dana Cooper says:

    Amazing photos Lee, you really got the slice of life of Central Park!

  9. Lee says:

    Thank you Dana. I am trying to focus on more story telling these days. Makes it more fun!