The Rag has been graced by weekend offerings from Robert Beck, an Upper West Side artist who paints scenes of the neighborhood, interior and exterior, that catch his eye and interest. This week, it’s baseball players in Central Park. We want to bring your attention to the fact that Robert is losing his UWS studio, near Zabar’s, to demolition. He is looking for another place in which to paint: four walls with a window and bathroom. (He’ll bring his own ghosts, click here for an explanation.) If you have any suggestions or a room to rent, you can reach Robert here, and see all of his, IMHO, remarkable paintings. Meanwhile, enjoy his Autumn walk past the Heckscher ballfields.
By Robert Beck
This is my favorite time of year. Better than Summer. Better than the Holidays.
Spring and Fall are seasonal twins with a similar appearance, but they approach life from different directions and with different temperaments. Spring arrives with eyes wide in anticipation and colors born yesterday. It has buds and sprouts and sweet scents of attraction. Autumn is a season of appreciation, with the colors of a gourmet shop rather than a nursery. There is nothing that matches the fanfare of leaves as Nature strikes the sets.
I rarely stop to watch the ball games when I’m walking through the park, but I’m glad they are there, pockets of alternative reward and consequence. Playing the game is the premium escape from the grind, and watching is an effective, low-impact, second-level variation. Feeling it happening off to the side as I go past is the non-subscription version. I can tell the state of play from the general sounds and motion in my periphery, but I don’t know the score.
Spring and Fall feel different from each other. The same temperature that makes me take off my coat in May has me put it on in October. Spring wraps my shoulders with warm sunlight but can’t help my ankles down near the still-frozen earth. The autumn ground remains summer-warm, but the air around my neck reminds me that it’s time to get my scarves and hats out.
The batter sways at the plate, his bat swirling over his head. The pitcher picks his spot. Spectators stand with fingers looped in the backstop fencing. From all directions come sounds of people enjoying the park, calling kids and dogs, laughing. The carousel’s calliope music drifts in and out of the background.
There is a sudden dink of the hit pitch, excited voices, and quick movements on the field. A base runner is going as fast as he can, taking third wide past his teammate’s windmilling arm urging him on. The fielder catches up to the ball, pivots, and gives a mighty fling towards home with all he’s got. The late afternoon breeze carries a dry leaf smell. I’ll need that scarf soon.