Sunday, August 15, 2010
Sweet Summer Night
It's been a long, hot summer in New York City, but yesterday, the punishing humidity finally broke and the citizens came out in grateful hoards. All summer the streets of the city have seemed unnaturally empty, and I couldn't figure out whether people were at their country houses or just indoors, unwilling to brave the heat. Maybe they were just indoors because last night the streets were filled, the atmosphere almost like a carnival.
My husband and I and one of our friends went to hear Ruben Blades at Jazz Out of Doors at Lincoln Center. I had walked by the plaza earlier in the day with another friend, where we discovered that free outdoor concerts would be happening all day. But the main event was last night. By the time we arrived, well before the evening concert was to start at 7:30 p.m., the place was packed, with nowhere to sit or stand except by the steps at the back of the bandshell area. Once the music started, we realized that we couldn't hear very well from there, the sound was too diffused by trees and the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, so we decided to leave and have a glass of wine together in a sidewalk cafe.
We strolled back to the main plaza and watched the fountain do its dance for a while, along other refugees from the concert, then we found a table right there in the outdoor plaza cafe and sipped and chatted and happily people-watched, one of the great entertainments of the city. I loved being out in the New York night, the air so gently breezy, the twilight so crisp, the people coming and going in animated silhouettes against the lighted fountain. The very air was full of that particular electricity that makes me love the city, even after all these years.
My husband and I will have been married 24 years in a week. He is still my favorite traveling companion, the one with whom I most enjoy sharing nights like this. We walked hand in hand with an easy, aimless feeling, and I realized how much I have missed being outdoors this summer, especially with him.