Today the sky hung low, enveloping New York in a mantle of gray. It was as if the entire city had become smaller, its sounds muted by the clouds. Winter’s bitter teeth no longer tore at the air, though the wind drove raindrops under umbrellas. I decided not to care. I had woken with a cold sore, stomach upset, and an aching head. I wanted to wander. Pooch and I climbed into the car and headed to Central Park. Except for a few hardy souls who smiled in mutual complicity, we had the place to ourselves. Most of the hot dog vendors had gone. The family gospel choir, four children and their father who set up shop inside the arches of the Bethesday arcarde, were there. But they were sheltering from the rain and not singing.
Pooch and I headed to The Boat House. Here's an insider's secret: The Boat House (not the fancy, over-priced section, but the snack bar part), has the best chicken noodle soup in the city. It's made fresh, with big chunks of moist chicken, firm noodles, and thickly cut carrots, celery, and onions. I bought a cup and sat under the small overhang of the bar in the outdoor portion of The Boat House. I delighted in breaking a small rule: in fair weather, Pooch is not allowed in this part of The Boat House. I fed him potato chips while I ate my soup. I gazed at the pond, speckled with raindrops. Live piano music escaped from inside the cafe, harmonizing with the patter of rain on the roof. Birds had spattered the area of the bar where we sat, and uncaring smokers had scattered cigarettes. I decided not to care about either. I had the place and the view to myself.
Some days call for breaking rules and not caring. Especially if a view and the best chicken noodle soup in the city are involved.