Saturday, May 30, 2009

The reservoir served as one of the Manhattan locations in the 1976 film, “Marathon Man” where a depressing chain link fence bordered the running track since 1926 and towered well above eye-level. Once a birthday present from friends was to lift me fully clear of the fence for an unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline at night. The famous scene in the film—a sadistic ex-Nazi dentist with a drill—is the kind of torture that is well known to me. I experienced not so long ago a pleasant enough periodentist with a less than deft touch which, sorry to say, not only tortured me but left a perfectly healthy tooth compromised. I strode past the pump house along the south end of the reservoir, not so much the lead in “Marathon Man” and more like one of the vast extras in “Crappy Union Dental Plan Woman.”

The film was made at a time when one could truly ask about a night time walk in the park or run at the reservoir: “Is it safe?” I’m a native New Yorker and by virtue of that appellation was rather fearless…or stupid. Impatient, as always, I often hurtled through the north end of the park from the west side late at night when the crosstown bus was nowhere to be seen. In the summer I ran around the reservoir after nightfall. It was the best time. Quiet in a way that made one think the dense darkness was rife with luminous faeries if the imagination darted past the obvious glow of fireflies. 

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