May I star off by asking if everyone is aware Central Park has a curfew? Having walked through it many, many times late at night to get home from the West Side, I am apparently oblivious to this 1 am rule.
Scruffy and I had just finished a show at Birdland featuring Coco Peru. The show was highly entertaining and our waitress was amazing. Anyone who refills your wine glass the moment it’s empty is my best friend. We walked Scruffy’s friend to the train near Columbus Circle and I suggested we walk through the park back to my apartment. It’s one of the last nice nights we’re going to have before winter arrives and I wanted to take advantage.
We were probably one-hundred or so yards into the park when a car rolls up on us. Mind you we are on the walking path which isn’t really wide enough for cars. We see it’s a cop car and pay no mind, beginning to walk past. The driver rolls down his window asking, “What are you doing?” Stating the obvious, I replied, “Walking home.” What else would we be doing in the park at this hour? I promise it’s not going to be drugs or sex. Those activities are exclusively reserved for beds, bars and bathrooms.
The officer then asks if we can read the sign regarding curfew. I despise someone talking down to me, officer or not, you don’t need to be a jerk. Stating that we didn’t know there was a curfew, my mouth started running away. 59th Street was just twenty or so feet away, I offered to walk to it now. The officer asked if I wanted to spend a night in jail. Thank the lord Scruffy told me to stop, a few times.
The officer then made us stand in his headlights for the twenty minutes it took he and his partner to run our licenses and write us both $50 Summonses. This got me going again. Are you freaking kidding? A ticket for walking in the park? Ticket me for the actual bad things I do in life. The officer being the ass he was made us walk the long way out of the park instead of allowing us to use the exit just ahead. For this reason I am convinced he was just being a jerk to be a jerk. If he truly is enforcing a curfew, does it not make sense to have us exit the park in the quickest manner? Yes. However, when you need to exact power and feel like you’re in control you do petty things.
I fully plan to appear in court – I’m not paying for a walk in the park. The worst part is this ruined a great night, probably more for Scruffy than I. Once you wind me up I’ll bitch and moan without rest. And only one person was around to hear my complaints.
The lesson here: Don’t walk the parks at night. The city is spending our tax dollars to punish people breaking curfew instead of worrying about drug dealers and murderers. I enjoy our priorities.