Summer's end in NYC, Sep 2009 - 05

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    Note: this photo was published as an illustration in a silly September 2009 Squidoo blog titled "The Best Squidoo Lens NOT To Do." It was also published in a Mar 11, 2010 blog titled "L'étirement après l'effort ... possible mais avec modération." And it was published in an Apr 21, 2010 blog titled "Should you stretch before running?" It was also published as an illustration in an undated (late Nov 2010) World-Bikini-dot-net blog, with the same title as the caption that I used on this Flickr page.

    Moving into 2011, the photo was published in a Mar 7, 2011 Polish blog titled "Wiosenne porządki w organizmie." It was also published in a Mar 31, 2011 blog titled "When to Stretch." And it was published in an undated (early Jun 2011) blog titled "15 Minutes Of Stretching Exercises To Keep Fit."

    Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a May 25, 2012 blog titled "Get Moving NYC: Where’s Your Fitness Fun?" And it was published in a Sep 30, 2012 blog titled "How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise When It’s Hot Outside."

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    Labor Day weekend has traditionally marked the end of the summer season throughout the United States, even though the summer solstice doesn't come to an end for another couple of weeks. Vacations are over, school is starting, and we all know that the long, hot days of summer are gone for yet another year (and as a Sep 6, 2009 New York Times editorial titled "This Seasonal Parade" points out, we're now halfway through the hurricane season)...

    For the last few years, I've acknowledged Labor Day by walking through Central Park here in New York City, to see how everyone else is enjoying or lamenting this end-of-season weekend. After a while, you have a general idea of what you're likely to see, as long as the weather cooperates: lots of sunbathing, lots of frisbee, lots of picnics, lots of kids running around the meadows and lawns as if the warm weather might last forever. Many of these scenes I've photographed multiple times, and I had no particular interest in repeating what I've already done before (here, for example is the Flickr set of photos from my 2008 stroll). So I didn't take any photos of the runners along the Central Park reservoir, didn't bother with most of the people on bicycles, and didn't pay much attention to the bikini-clad beauties out on the grass...

    But there are always some unique sights, and I did my best to capture them in this set of photos. What struck me most this year was the music that I saw (and heard) almost everywhere: jazz trios, solitary musicians, an absolutely wonderful folk-music trio called The Dirty Urchins (check them out on Twitter, MySpace, and the Web), a violin trio of teenaged Chinese girls, a solitary violinist playing Puccini opera pieces, and several others that I've probably forgotten. Oh, yeah, and there were also the mimes: the gold man, the spring faerie, and so many others.

    All in all, Central Park is one of the most magical places in the world. If you haven't been here, you have no idea what you're missing. Of course you should come here to the Center of the Universe to see the Empire State Building, the Staten Island Ferry, the Statue of Liberty, and Ground Zero. But you need to set aside at least a whole day to see Central Park. I hope this set of Flickr photos will give you a brief glimpse of why it matters so much...

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