Inconvenience of spending 5hrs of my Sunday time on a round trip to/from Inwood (“How tarsome”! – would say a certain E.F. Benson’s personage) was totally compensated by the park itself.
Fort Tryon is the stage of historical events of Revolutionary War, a gorgeous estate bought from original owner (Billing) and developed into park by Rockefeller – and one more example of Olmsted landscape design.
Sunday was my day of volunteering for Open House; I expected very little attendance due to distance. I was pleasantly surprised. My tally-sheet was filling up with visitors, and I had no difficulty to collect people for the tours.
It was a gorgeous day, unexpectedly sunny and warm, and I saw so many happy faces, human and canine, entering the park! One of pleasant experiences of volunteering is how visitors interact with you in your semi-official capacity; it never cease to amuse.
This time there was a guy – Chinese, I think – who demanded I give him information about some bicycle meet-up group.I have explained that I’m here for a different event, that I don’t work for the park and can’t help him. To no avail. He would listen, go inside the gates, walk somewhere then return in 15 minutes and ask me the same questions and listen to same explanations, make the same annoyed face and go inside again… Later, when I walked the paths myself I saw him on the Promenade, with his back to the view, looking intensely into the crowd.
There was also a woman of approx. my age, who came over as everybody else, asking about the time the next tour starts, and then she skipped two and stayed next to me, telling about every site she’s seen during this and previous Open Houses, and pouring out great deal of her own biography..I swear, I didn’t ask her!
And then there was an old thin woman, probably in her 80’s – I chatted with her a bit while we were waiting for return of the tour guide, and afterwards she came back and talked to me at length about the abhorrent behavior of those “kids on bikes” who, despite the prohibiting sign, rode on park’s paths. “One of them passed me and I was so angry I wanted him to fall! Yes I did! And I am a good Christian! What do you think of that?!” I almost told her: nothing, being an atheist – but she wouldn’t have heard me anyway; she only needed my nominal attention for her monologue.
I didn’t mind…it was a gorgeous day and I liked to be of help, even just as a sympathetic ear.
[See pictures @ the right bottom in the Flickr window or @ this link]