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Monday, May 25, 2009

Shag Carpeting

The phrase of choice when I grew up to describe extreme fun was having a blast. For a literal interpretation, head to the fountain in Washington Square Park, which was finally opened after being closed for one and a half years. It was perfect timing for some prematurely hot weather on a holiday weekend. It was a beach scene with all the accouterments including children with sand buckets. See more photos here.
The summer cooling method of choice when I grew up was the sprinkler. For those with no access to the beach or a home swimming pool, the announcement that our parents were going to set up and turn on the sprinkler in the yard was a cause for jubilation. In New York City, fire hydrants are officially made available - upon request, the fire department will put on a sprinkler head to a hydrant for neighborhood's children to cool off.
There are other fountains in Manhattan, but the one in Washington Square Park, located in a residential neighborhood with a history of permissiveness, beckons to be used as a water park. Adults, children (and the occasional dog) play in the water with street clothes. Personally, I do not approve of children playing in the fountain water - this is far from a sanitary environment, with all manner of fluids and solids. There has been some controversy about the situation - officially dogs are banned and signs stating such are soon to be posted. Tickets have been given out for the violation.
This whole environment brings to mind shag carpeting in cheap motels. You never know what's lurking beneath the surface - most likely there is some accumulation of bits of food, humans and other debris of unknown origin. Better not to look or think. The same applies to this fountain pool - who knows what's really in that soup - better not to think or look too deep, just like with shag carpeting :)

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