Saturday, March 8, 2008

"central," "park," "reservoir," "parakeet"

On occasion some details from an article I read in the New York Times long ago pops onto my mind. It was a short piece describing the underwater treasures found in the Central Park Reservoir. I think the article has stuck with me so long is because I have spent so many hours running around the jogging path, contemplating the hidden prizes beneath the murky water.

The article came to me again tonight as I was reading the paper online. I set out to search for it. Working with several permutations of "central," "park," "reservoir," etc. I finally tried the one major detail I remember: a decapitated parakeet floating in the water. Kismet! Adding "parakeet" to my query yielded a solitary result, "Couple Scouring Murky Reservoir Find Fulfillment, and Lots of Bottles" by Douglas Martin on October 1, 1996. I was surprised to see that the article was from so long ago though my sixth grader memory did not serve me entirely correctly. The article is more about the lives of a scuba diving pair than sunken loot than a sunken parakeet (drowning, not mutilated after all):

Wearing full scuba gear, George and Catherine Parry have been scouring the reservoir for a month to retrieve, among many other things, thousands of whisky, soda and champagne bottles, four basketball hoops, six dead rats, nine Frisbees, more than 100 tennis balls and a dozen rackets, many handfuls of spent shells, dozens of knives, a dead raccoon, a briefcase, a faceless alarm clock, a toy shovel and a drowning parakeet they strove unsuccessfully to save. They found a baby carriage, but no evidence of a baby.

I am satisfied, even happy to see that the article opens with a mention of Alberto Arroyo, the "Mayor" of the Reservoir, whom I have passed along the pump house at leas a thousand times. Perhaps you have seen him too - though not abusing domesticated fowl I hope!

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