The Central Parker

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n a city full of skyscrapers fighting for every inch of space, the park is literally a breath of fresh air. I moved to New York less than a year ago and I miss home way more than I thought I would. I come from Delhi, India and I am used to the big city life, the crowds and the hustle. New York is different and while I know that I haven’t quite had enough time to root myself here, this city is its own pace. It is so unbelievably fast that you consciously need to earmark time to plan to make time. For every pointy and polished skyscraper that I see, I sorely miss the giant domes and the ruins that are smattered all over Delhi. For every half baked drizzle that leaves you confused about the need for an umbrella, I miss the downpours of the Indian monsoon. For every extra layer that engulfs me in the snow, I miss Delhi’s mild winter. But for everything that I miss and romanticize about home, one thing I do not miss is the severe lack of accessible public spaces and parks. For the short time that I have lived in New York, Central Park is where I go to recharge. Like many artists, birds and bees across the centuries, I am drawn to green spaces.

Central Park is big, confusing, touristy and I love it. You never know who you are going to run into or what you might witness. The park is theatre; bare trees and barren grounds transform into a blazing while snowscape of rolling hills overnight, The cherry trees blossom and bring in throes of people that keep coming throughout the summer and the park gets ready for a magnificent showdown with a fiery blaze of reds, yellows and oranges before it resumes to a quiet, cold and graphic winter. The landscape is sweet but if you zoom in, there are some wonderful eccentricities to be found. The bubble man and his mission to spread happiness. The saxophonist under the cold, wintry bridge lost in his music. The guitarist from Chile who makes strangers hum together to his tunes under the Bethesda Terrace. There is so much music, art and conversation to be found in the park. From January to April, I sketched every week across the park. Numb fingers and numb figures transformed into big blobs of colour and loose movements as the seasons changed. The park reached a crescendo and burst into life, colour and music to welcome spring. The Central Parker is a documentation and celebration of life in the park.

All drawings in this book were made entirely on location- through finger numbing chills and euphoria inducing cherry blossoms, from January to April 2019. This book was made as part of a wonderful drawing class taught by Carol Fabricatore at the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Programme at the School of Visual Arts, New York. © Ishita Jain 2019