Put on a Hefty trash bag, run with all of your might, scream at the top of your lungs and dive off the top of a snow packed hill. Once you reach bottom, laugh so hard that you can hardly stand. Repeat.
That’s what I did one afternoon in Central Park. If you asked me now to sum up the happiest moments of my life, that day might possibly be at the very top. It was the winter of 1983 and it hadn’t snowed significantly in years, maybe even a decade. Of course, back then a year felt like a decade and sufficient snow amounts get harder and harder to achieve as you grow. I was 22 and hadn’t seen snow up to my hips in years. This snowfall was the stuff that legends are made of – it packed perfectly, the grand overnight total was 17″ and it fell on a Friday night into Saturday.
I had just graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology or as any its graduates will call it – FIT. I remember how excitement and wonder just flowed through my veins. Armed with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a limitless supply of enthusiasm, I was determined to make my way in a struggling economy and more importantly – New York City. I was living in an illegal sublet on West 79th Street between Columbus Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue with a number of part-time jobs that barely kept me financially afloat. The apartment though was fully furnished with every modern gadget of the day. An answering machine and the coveted VHS machine-made my situation enviable in my circle. Larry, the owner of the apartment, liked things new and of the moment. He also liked to travel and had a cat. That’s how I came to be living in Larry’s apartment.
It was my friend Rick who suggested a party and in a matter of phone calls one came together about as magically as the storm outside. Bagels from H&H and someone else brought a video which was a completely new concept for me. Within an hour there must have been 10 people in Larry’s bedroom on that snowy day. We had just wrapped up the video when Rick came up with the idea we go sledding in Central Park. We may have been classified as adults but the child in each of us hadn’t been fully notified. “That’s a great idea,” we screamed and headed out with the intention of buying sleds at a nearby hardware store. The Upper West side hadn’t been invaded by strollers yet. It was still licking its wounds from the drug wars of the 1970’s. Amsterdam Avenue was “iffy” and anything above 79th Street questionable after dark. Prostitutes worked the bus stops on Broadway above 90th Street. We didn’t find any sleds and it was Rick again who came up with the idea of wearing the trash bags. Because we were desperate to sled, young and the snow perfect it all fell into place once the idea was born. That’s how I came to have one of the best afternoons of my life.
Put on a black Hefty trash bag, run with all of your might, scream at the top of your lungs and dive off the top of a snow packed hill. Once you reach bottom, laugh so hard that you can hardly stand. Repeat