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Thursday, May 27, 1999
By Paul Ford
I got drunk and went into a park.
I was drunk by 7:30; there is always vodka, gin, and whiskey at work, and someone was quitting that day, so the margarita blender was out as well. Before I left, I'd had a coffee-cup's worth of gin and straight tequila.
I left early and took a circuitous route, past Gramercy Park. I'd never been in before and the heavy gate was open. I sat for twenty minutes on a bench, watching the trees interact with what was left of the breeze after it filtered through the tall buildings. Gramercy Park is pleasing to breathe, with small sculptures and a gravel path. When I got off my bench, 15 minutes later, all the gates were locked.
I paced around the park twice, feet crunching the gravel, confused. Had it closed? What should I do? Cry to outsiders for help? The fence was iron and spiked, and would destroy my pants if I scaled it. It would be a good story, though, maybe worth a pair of pants, if I could sneak into a drugstore and buy safety pins. It seemed empty.
I saw a tiny sign--Gramercy is accessibly only by key, and only to residents of the block. And finally I spotted a woman reading, and asked her for help. She laughed and walked me to the gate.
"Now you know," she told me, her hand twisting a large brass key, the key attached to a flourescent pink piece of plastic embossed in gold with the words "Love Bank #1."