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Weekend: Avenue A

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."


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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