Painter Robert Beck celebrates the marathon.
By Robert Beck
It’s Marathon Weekend, with its own brand of New York chaos. The epicenter is on the West Drive of Central Park, at Tavern on the Green, where the finish line is located. From there spreads a diaspora of enormous tents and mobile power generators, viewing stands, porta-potties, and miles of fences, that, by design touch all boroughs of the city. But not like here.
It’s not just an event; it’s a week. It takes a long time to get the infrastructure in place. People have been pouring in for days, and they brought their training regimens with them.
Everywhere people are running. Swarms of them. Some with matching clothing. Some with dogs and strollers. Some not keen on traffic signals. More than one in a personal, under-oxygenated state. But all in New York for the marathon.
I painted at the finish line while they were still assembling the stands. It took me a while to find my way through the railings and gates to a spot where I wouldn’t be in the way of the construction workers or the visitors zipping by en mass. When I was done, I found that the gap behind the set of stands I had squeezed through had another set erected next to it, and I had been built into the structure. I did find a way out, up and through the seats — something I learned as a kid from sneaking into the circus. Which is pretty much what it’s like out there this weekend.
Editors note: Robert is losing his Upper West Side art studio, his vantage point onto the neighborhood, and is looking for another. His needs are modest. If you have any ideas — or a room with a window and access to a bathroom — email firstname.lastname@example.org. We don’t want to lose him!