Part of my run in the morning is to walk around Harlem Hill. It extends my run in the park by a good mile and a half.
It’s not the safest part of Central Park, but it’s positively breathtaking.
It’s where I saw the turtle being escorted into the woodsalong with meeting Marlena the French Bull Dog in a Massoni sweater (see Puttin on the dog and Tortoise Crossing). The woods you pass are plush in their greenery making you forget you’re in a city at all.
One does have to keep their wits about them, because like I said, it’s slightly desolate compared to the rest of the park. But having no fear, nothing has ever happened to make me choose not to go.
This morning as I’m climbing up the first incline, I see two men to my left milling in the woods. Didn’t think much of it since there are people scattered about…other runners and bikers, dog walkers. But something was a bit different about these two.
One guy, in droopy jeans the seat all worn, a what looked like a conductor’s cap on his head, was jumping around a lot as if he had ants in his pants.
The other fellow, dressed a tad better in gray slacks and a black wool coat, was looking intently at something in his hand. He was extremely thin with cheekbones you could have hung lights from.
It was only then I realized, he was copping dope.
Keep walking Susannah, I cautioned myself. Don’t look…just mind your own business.
Of course that ship had already sailed since I was already making mental notes for this post.
The dealer looked my way and said, ‘You need sumpin lady?”
Was he trying to sell me a nickel bag or challenging my curiosity?
I decided on the first choice it feeling safer.
“No, I’m good,” I said, increasing my step.
The whole encounter made me think of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Leger…and all those who suffered and died from the awful affects of addiction.
I remember the day Heath Leger overdosed. I happened to be in Soho a block from where it happened. The part of me fascinated with death stood across from the building and thought how just a few hours ago he was alive and well on an upper floor. How life and death travel so closely together with a yellow line drawn between the two.
A group of young girls were sitting cross-legged in a circle candles lit, mourning their fallen hero.
As I made my way around Harlem Hill, I thought about how easy it was to have one’s needs met even on your way to work.
When they say, you can get anything your heart desires in New York City 24 hours a day…they’re not just whistling Dixie, are they?