A picnic, last evening, pretty much in the middle of Central Park's Great Lawn. I haven't been there for a long time, and we arrived just after seven to find the baseball diamonds loaded with uniformed players, the thwack of the bat against ball, white, which would fly up against a sky turning sepia at the edges, while an outfielder rushed beneath it, capped head turned upwards, arms readying for a catch, feet fast in the rich green grass.
Like many other gardeners I have gravitated towards the less-grass, abolish-the-lawn attitude: mostly for environmental reasons. Just thinking about golf courses makes me itch. All those phosphates leaching into water tables, streams and lives. All those dead zones in the ocean. All those strip mines.
But I have to say: Grass is nice.
It was plush, and soft, and smelled good. We sank into it. A group of guys playing tag frisbee hovered around us like a peripatetic flock of racing pigeons, their movements precise and wild. The baseball players finished up and went home, looking happy. The buildings on Central Park South lit up in the sinking sun and later twinkled with lights. A cool and then cold breeze (in August!) moved up from the trees on either side and when we left, at last, the grass was thick with dew.
Marlene, who has known me, as she said to a concierge last night, since before I was born, has been in town for just over a week from Cape Town and has possibly seen every painting in New York.
Chilled celery, scallion and yogurt soup
Serrano ham with Mission figs
Foie gras mousse
Wild boar cacciatorini
Vegetables with dipping salt 'n pepper
Robbiola Due Latte (a cheese that may as well be butter)
Baguette from Sullivan Street Bakery
Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc