Seven AM is about when they open the gates. By “they,” I’m referring to the NYC Parks Department and the staff that open and close the gates to over 1,700 municipal parks in the five boroughs of NYC. Every morning when I take our dog for a walk, I’m cognizant of the opening times of the two parks we frequent, and often see the staff unlocking the padlocks to the gates.
Except this morning she wasn’t quite able to open the padlocks. On a cold, wet, snowy winter morning, it’s not surprising that things freeze up sometimes: the locks, our hands, our minds.
It’s amazing how much something so small impacts us, though. One, then then two, then five dog owners started to congregate around the locked gate, all of our dogs not quite understanding why we weren’t going through. Worse, the judge with the labrador that has his own key to the gates (a perk of being a city judge, I guess), was out of town that week and wasn’t going to be coming to save us.
Not wanting to continue to wait, I left the polite but uneasy group of people temporarily waylaid from their morning ritual. We left to walk around the wet, snowy block, pausing every so often to see if the crowd was there, or left, or made it through. Out of sight, one turn around, then back, and the gates were open. Onward we went. 1