Since when has it ever been 60 degrees in New York City in December…? Since the polar ice caps started melting is when, and it’s nothing to cheer about. But if a cloud ever had a silver lining it’s this: we woke up with the insatiable desire to get our shirts off outdoors, for what will surely be the last time this year.
We met up on the west side of Central Park, scant yards away from the classy, century-old apartment buildings of Central Park West. The trees set a fine example, being bare of leaves, and we shed layer after layer until we were similarly denuded. Then, realizing that 60 degrees is a far cry from 90 degrees, we put some bits of clothing back on…but only some, and only bits, so that we could enjoy the pleasant breeze and the sun against our skin.
Is there anything better than this? We had gourmet chocolate and apricot hamentaschen and onion bagels and coconut water, and books by Stephen King and Harlan Ellison and Lawrence Block and Russell Hill, and a conversation that ranged from David Foster Wallace to equine gerontology, from acupuncture as a treatment for sinus conditions to library science, and from Buffy to Angel. (Okay, maybe not such a big spread there.)
And now we’re all aching to do it again! But when? How?
There was talk of naked snow angels the first time enough snow sticks. We’ll see. But if you felt like whistling “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” we wouldn’t say nay.
So, what’s a girl to do when it’s 38 degrees outside? Find someplace indoors that’s warm and inviting, with shelves full of great old paperback books and original pulp cover art hanging on the walls. Like, for instance, the private, invitation-only Fulton Ryder art gallery and bookstore on Manhattan’s upper east side, owned by renowned artist Richard Prince.
Mr. P and his team made us all feel most welcome and gave us glimpses of some never-before-seen artwork, as well as items from his remarkable personal collection, such as a first edition of THE BIG SLEEP inscribed by Raymond Chandler in 1939. And if that wasn’t enough to make us salivate, there were pastries and warm beverages and, best of all, a chance to see each other again after far too many weeks of CTWS (that’s Co-ed Topless Withdrawal Syndrome, in case you’re wondering).
When and where will we meet next? Who knows? But we bet there are other suitable hidden spots in this great city of ours that would welcome a visit from OCTPFAS. If you know of any, suggestions are always welcome…
So here we are, October. Every warm day we get is an unexpected bonus. The leaves have begun to turn, the breeze sprints instead of dawdling, and you hear the steps of winter’s boots in the gravel, approaching. A time for us to chase down the last rays of summer sun, like a straw chasing the last sip of some sumptuous beverage left in the bottom of a glass. Sip…siiiip…and the last trickle delightfully slides down your throat.
2012 has been such a lovely year. We’ve made good friends, read good books. And it’s not over yet! But the days of balmy afternoons on green grasses are at an end. Adieu, mercury straining toward the triple digits! Bonjour, warm socks and sweaters. But before we go, let us display our customary defiance to custom with some photos of our final day in the sun, at lunchtime in the middle of midtown Manhattan’s most crowded little oasis, Bryant Park.
Each year, Printed Matter Inc. presents the NY Art Book Fair, and this year we were invited to join Fulton Ryder at their booth the opening night of the show. Three of us went, and as they were warm and welcoming hosts and had plenty of classic pulp paperbacks to dive into, we got comfy on their folding chairs and made scarce with the fabric from the waist up.
Outdoors? Not so much. But we had a great time, and with winter coming, some friendly indoor events might be just the thing to keep us out of trouble. Anyone out there have a fireplace and a tiger-skin rug we can loll on…?
…not with a whimper, nor (whatever some of you might imagine!) with a bang, but with something serene and wonderful: a group of friends gathering in one of New York’s most private public places, atop one of the giant boulders in Riverside Park. This being New York, we did see some glittering fragments of broken glass at the foot of the rock (not to mention a dead rat, the less said about which, the better)…but on top of the rock–we were on top of the world, the last rays of summer sun drizzling down onto us like syrup on a stack of delicious golden pancakes. We certainly felt that yummy. And when the afternoon waned, we took a walk uptown to one of the park’s lovely plazas, for some European-style sunbathing on the European-style stone benches and balustrades.
So…is this really all she wrote? With the summer gone, will the Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society go underground, not to be seen again until the thaw comes in the spring? Well…wait and see. We might have a surprise or two in store for our fans this fall and winter. But when the thaw does come–
–when summer once again dapples the leaves and pricks up gooseflesh on our winter-pale hides–
–we will see you again in earnest, and in force, and (of course) in as little clothing as the law of the land allows.
Another photographer, the husband of one of our members, brought an old-fashioned black-and-white film camera to the park and produced these images. It’s funny just how much a b/w photo can capture–more than color, sometimes…