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When a city works: sharing Central Park with a dog, a husband, and a couple of thousand triathletes who have just swum the Hudson River

Today my husband, dog, and I went to Central Park for a photo shoot–for my husband and dog. Jeff (the husband) has a book coming out about project management at the end of the year. He’s upgrading his website, and so he hired a very nice photographer to take pictures for his website that show him at his most happy and relaxed. That would be with our dog Faith, in some green place. Like Central Park.

What we hadn’t anticipated is that in addition to the usual gazillion folks enjoying Sunday in Central Park, there was…the NYC TRIATHLON. Which begins with thousands of athletes jumping in the Hudson River (don’t mock, it’s clean!) and ends with them thundering through a 10K…in Central Park.

Was it hot and crowded? Yes. There was a heat advisory. Was it hectic? Are you kidding me? Was it New York? You bet: I have to say we had to be the only people along the race path who WEREN’T wearing some sign/hat/Lady Gaga-esque outfit designed to encourage a triathlete. (Did I mention that there was also a Doggy Dash–a human/dog running event?)

And yet–we got exactly where we were going, thanks to some great cops, fantastic crowds, stellar volunteers, gracious competitors, and some great walking paths. We had to walk a block out of our usual route, and use a cell phone to find the photographer, but from then on, it really was a walk in the park.

It was only much later that I appreciated that what I had seen was a city functioning, cooperating, celebrating, at the top of its form. And that’s pretty fantastic.

I wonder if other people have examples of “high-functioning” civic environments? (With or without a dog wearing an athletic medal.)

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Martha, what an exciting Sunday afternoon. I live in a much smaller city and have not seen this kind of “high-functioning” environment however, I am very impressed at how the city of New York was able to strategically and successfully manage an event of this magnitude. Thank you for sharing this.