Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra

Central Park. Hands down the number one thing that you gotta do when you come to New York, before the Empire State, Rockefeller Center, even the Statue of Liberty. It is the figurative and literal heart of the city, pumping vitality into its inhabitants; without it, the city would gain 10 BMI points, start to balkanise, and finally commit suicide.

It's for this reason that I show the park off to visitors like it was my very own backyard. I still relish in the park's verdure, and in the disparate (though inevitably intertwined) cultures of the native New Yorkers and the weekend tourists.

And so on touring Central Park with an old Haligonian friend last weekend, it was with feigned surprise (I am no longer surprised when the park provides unexpected forms of entertainment) but unfeigned delight that we stumbled upon Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra. Their hot dance jazz ditties had attracted a healthy crowd to the steps of Bethesda Fountain, including what appeared to be true aficionados of the fancy dances of the 1920s. We couldn't help but gawk and share giddy smiles, faintly aware that the city in which we were standing was intricately tied to the anachronism playing out in front of us.

CONSUMED: the steps of the Bethesda Fountain; Central Park, New York

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