“In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” —Mark Twain (1835-1910)
I wonder, did Mr. Twain count those “136 different kinds of weather” during a spring when he lived in New York City? As part of the Greenwich Village Walking Tour we stop at Mr. Twain’s favorite residence amongst the several he had in New York City.
I began my early spring stroll through Central Park where Walk About New York’s Central Park Walking Tour steps off, at Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ monument to General William Tecumseh Sherman. Mr. Twain would have been 29 when Sherman conducted his destructive march from Atlanta to the sea. General Sherman died in New York City in 1891.
Two features stood out during my walk in Central Park; the flowers and the musicians, and even a soft-spoken magician.
From 1935 to 1970 New York City banned busking on its streets. Mayor Fiorello LaGuadia began banning street performers in 1935; the ban went fully into effect on New Year’s Day, 1936. The public out cry over the ban was documented by the New York Times and NBC Radio. Not until 1970, when John Lindsey was mayor, was the street performance ban lifted.
Buskers’ right to perform is protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech. Courts across the U.S.A. have ruled that busking is a form of speech.
Today in New York City, performers must stage their shows at least five feet away from a park bench, and 50 feet from a statue within Central Park, Battery Park, the High Line and Union Square Park. The second half of this regulation was not followed by the first musical trio I enjoyed in Central Park; they were entertaining park-goers at the base of the Christopher Columbus bronze in Central Park.
For the flowers, no permit or rules are necessary. It was the crocuses and miniature daffodils that were in bloom throughout the park. I even saw some miniature irises. The flowers photos were taking Central Park’s Shakespeare Garden, one of the stops on Walk About New York’s Central Park Walking Tour.