Ravens have returned

Looking north on upper level at Marcus Garvey Park.

A black couple, maybe in their mid-30s, stands close together looking at a cellphone at the eastern side of the upper level of Marcus Garvey Park. I walk past them to the north and look out at a few church steeples and office buildings and tenement tops. 

It’s sunny today, and the play of the warmth with the occasionally stiff wind is pleasantly incongruent. Now looking east I can see the Triborough Bridge, which has been named the Robert F Kennedy Bridge. We are probably a couple hundred feet above sea level and the neighborhood, since the park is built on a large outcropping of schist that the original city workers in the early 19th century must have decided to leave alone. Stone walls and chain-link and wrought iron fences are broken, crumbled, rusty. A 10-ounce plastic Starbucks cup is wedged carefully between a rock wall and a chain-link fence. The grassy areas are just that: areas of dirt with some grass mixed with twigs acorns leaves and occasional coffee cup or a Snapple bottle. “Grassy”: an adjectival modifier for an area that is mostly not grass. Unintended and largely neglected, except for the occasional writer or poorly funded community group.

It’s a brilliant park: seated squarely in Harlem, with a sweeping 360° view of the neighborhood.

I hear a crow not far off. It may be a raven, because I’ve heard they’ve returned to Manhattan.

An older black man, in his 60s, wearing a fedora, nods to me and says “good morning!”

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Ravens have returned

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