Central Park Mall
Harvey Bradley Dodworth
30 April 2020
“The fine weather which prevailed yesterday morning had attracted to the Park at an early jour an unusual number of the great unoccupied and of ladies and children and nursemaids. Never was the Park so beautiful. The laens were emerald glories, the heavy dew of the past night had refreshed the trees and the flowers seemed to rejoice in the genial, balmy sunshine, which, however, was at no hour before three o’clock overpowering, a gentle breeze fanning one’s cheeks and putting all in good humor. The birds and animals in the Park seemed to join in the general revelry, the rabbits and hares in particular skipping about with a tameness intensely ‘shocking.’ At two P. M. all was gayety and confusion. Every available lawn was taken possession of by the base ball players, who seemed to spring out of the earth, so suddenly did the grass become variegated by all sorts of costumes in which it is supposed any one can play a game, a half an hour later play was impossible from a sheer want of space, and the distinguishing of balls as they were tossed and knocked recklessly over the plain a herculean task.
At three o’clock the grand monde began to arrive and the carriages to throng every drive. Dapper clerks appeared with three months of salary on their backs and the balance of their stipends on their heads, feet, hands and shirt fronts, a fractional part being reserved for their waistcoat pockets; while shoals of pretty school girls and graduates for matrimony made one’s life a misery and a pleasure at the same time by their ‘pretty ways.’ Although the Mall and lakes received the burden of patronage, all parts of the Park were pretty well frequented, and when the saying ‘marriages are made in heaven’ was promulgated a reserved clause must have been inserted to read,’and the Park,’ to judge from the hundreds of couples who, shunning the public, sought the retirement of the lovely grounds near the reservoir, monopolizing every nook and corner where a cozey chat could be indulged in. Teutonia, as usual, sent a good number of harsh-speaking, pleasure and lager-loving delegates, who amused themselves in their own peculiar way, while New York did not forget to give a roving commission to i[t]s loafing population, whose representatives made nature hideous by their vandalism and improprieties, but who were kept a little in check by the decent minded and the Park constables. At half-past three o’clock there were at least 6,000 persons congregated around Dodworth’s orchestra, anticipating immense pleasure from the execution of the following program:— [incomplete program follows]
The white hatted virtuo-s-o-s du gazon had scarcely taken their seats and commenced the first bars of Faust, when an ominous cloud overshadowed the glorious sun that was kindly beaming on the well dressed crowd, and a minute afterwards there commenced a shower which, for suddenness and effect, has scarcely been equaled. The scene was ludicrous. The band played on bravely, but there was a regular stampede to the tents, which were in a few seconds filled to overflowing, necessitating a further rush of suffering humanity to then Casino hard by, which was by no means unhappy to find an extra 500 persons within its walls as customers. Jupiter Pluvius was treacherous, however, he drew in his horns a little and allowed the shower to abate and finally to subside; the crowd came forth again, relying on appearances, which are, by the by, always false, and were again enjoyiong the fresh air and the delightful execution of the Olympic Fanz [sic] waltz when another shower inaugurated the most abominable, drenching, unpitying storm that the worst enemy of man could wish for. The crowd stood it bravely for a time in nomadic bliss, but the tents proved as unfaithful as the clerk of the weather, and soon a most doleful procession of ‘Dorothy Draggletails,’ half melted Fifth avenue and other statues not made of stone and little and big children, who, rather deligeted [sic] than not in the contretemps, ‘might have been seen’ wending its way to the nearest car station, where forty or fifty individuals were carefully packed in each misnomer of a pleasure conveyance, however proper to car drivers knowing Latin may appear the name omnibus, they translating it ‘carry all you can, and what you can’t put on in front and behind.’ A few of the impecunious were left out in the cold, while those possessing sufficient of those models of the engraver’s art, our national currency, found a hearty welcome in the various caravansaries surrounding the Park, Central Park Garden having the call.
A statistician might make no small renown in computing the cost of a shower followed by a storm at the Park. At any rate, of one thing we may be certain, that milliners, dressmakers, tailors, hatters and shoemakers will in the ensuing week have a good time of it, bearing out the old adage, ‘it is an ill wind that blows nobody good.’”