CATCH IT: Shakespeare in the Park and Pera

What kind of person would sit for three hours on a  bridle path in Central Park on a Saturday morning for William Shakespeare? Droves do—thousands every summer in the Delacorte Theater since 1962.  This season, the performances are Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well, and well—I was there on July 9th.

Although the box office opens at 1:00 P.M., some people line-up or, rather, have a sit-down at 7:00 A.M.  I arrived at 10:00 A.M., and I knew the rules: each individual is allowed two tickets per person, in person.  I walked to the end of the line at Central Park West & 85th Street—I felt lucky about my chances—still, I wondered if I should have arrived an hour earlier for a couple of guaranteed tickets out of the 1800 available seats.

I spread out my patchwork quilt, reaching for my sunglasses and Smartwater.  Four young ladies from Finland sat on my right chatting.  I remembered my agreement with my friend, Leesa.  She said, “Wanda, if you get the tickets, I’ll pay for dinner.”

“Oh, okay,” I said. I thought, “I can take pleasure in the sun, and finally finish reading
my book, Teach Yourself Beginner’s French, by Catrine Carpenter.”  Ninety-seconds
later, I heard a woman say, “This must be the end of the line.”

“Yes,” I said while taking in her sunny smile.

“Hi,” she said, “my name is Julie.”  She didn’t have a blanket, and wore a long wax cloth wrap with circular patterns in brown, cream and sienna.  She sat on the stony ground, opened her bag, and placed her bottled water and book on the solid concrete.

“What are you reading?” I asked.

Oxygen,” she replied, “by Andrew Miller.”  Surprisingly, we forgot about our books; we babbled, chatted, and laughed like best friends.  Meanwhile, countless people walked by, asking why we were in line; families passed by with their children and dogs; tourists strolled by snapping pictures of ticket seekers.  Julie and I bonded, and soon it was 1:00 P.M.  We cheered when we received our tickets, hugged, and promised to stay in touch.
With a quick glance, I stared at the expanding line, and in my mind, wished others the same fortune—an evening’s performance of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

I headed south. The golden sun matched the Mediterranean look-alike blue sky.  I walked along the space between skaters, cyclists, runners, and other pedestrians.  I ended up at 67th Street and Central Park West, gazing at a familiar site: long lines.  However, this time, it was for food.

Scores of people were lined up at Pera (Turkish Tacos–Food Mobile), Van Leeuwen (Artisan Ice Cream—the Turtle Truck) and the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck.  Patrons were sitting at designated tables, others were searching for seats, but the majority was standing in line waiting to order.  Those who were not interested in food entered the Tavern on the Green Visitor Center & Gift Shop.

Pera is what I decided upon, and when my turn came, I ordered the Eggplant Köfte and Summer Squash with Hummus & Feta (at $4.50), and an iced Turkish coffee ($2.50).  Happily, I found a seat at one of Pera’s reserved tables.  After the first bite, I was mesmerized.  After the second, I wanted to know more about my savory meal.  I found out they have a Mediterranean restaurant located at 303 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017.

I telephoned Leesa and said, “Hey, I have the perfect restaurant for dinner.”

Catch it if you can at www.shakespeareinthepark.org, www.peranyc.com, www.vanleeuwenicecream.com, www.rickshawdumplings.com, and www.centralparkconservancy.org.

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One Response to CATCH IT: Shakespeare in the Park and Pera

  1. The Gardens says:

    Loved the read on this New York Minute. While engaged by this enchanting ditty, I felt I too was sitting on the rock with Julie while chatting with the girls. Your writing style is not only informative but also exudes the feelings of the moment. Thanks for informing us on where to go to enjoy life.

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