The Unbearable Banishment: skating away on the thin ice of a new day

Monday, November 10, 2008

skating away on the thin ice of a new day

The ice skating rink at Bryant Park—New York City’s only FREE ice skating rink—is open for business. From now until mid-January, you can skate in the shadow of the Empire State Building and the Public Library.

I don’t participate in winter sports. I tried skiing for a few years in high school but it seems the focus was more on how much weed you can smoke on the chair lift than honing your downhill skills. Consequently, I never advanced past snow plowing. Plus, I never had the proper equipment or clothing so the sport never took. I’ve never been on ice skates either, but I do enjoy watching the skaters at Bryant Park.

The music they play over the PA systems tends to be very, very bad Broadway show tunes. Not cool ones that later became American Popular Standards; songs by Gershwin, Sammy Cahn and the rest of those guys that were recorded outside of the realm of musical theater by the likes of Sinatra and Billie Holiday. The songs they play at the Bryant Park rink are crappy, obscure forgettable show tunes that only annoying musical theater purists could identify. It’s nothing an iPod can’t cure. Pop in your ear buds and suddenly the skaters are gliding gracefully while Ella Fitzgerald sings Midnight Sun.

* * *

I had another meditation class last night but I wasn’t feeling the vibe so I snuck out early. After a lovely opening meditation, they tried to tell us what happens after we’re dead. Fix your karma or you’ll be reincarnated over and over again until you get it right. Horseshit. I've said it before and I'll say it again; nobody knows what happens after you die. No. Body. If they keep annoying me with this stuff I might stop going altogether. If I want to hear fairy tales about the afterlife, I’ll go back to the Catholic Church.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your comment about afterlife fairy tales and the catholic church.

November 11, 2008 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

I love the snow, but have never been on a pair of skis in my life. My attempts at ice skating have only gotten me a wet bottom too.

Guess snowball fighting is the proper winter sport for me.

Totally agree with knowledge after death. Everyone has their own beliefs regarding what may or may not happen, but nobody knows the truth. It’s very doubtful to me that any one belief system has it right either.

November 11, 2008 at 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in the afterlife? i'm hoping there's a bar. maybe some La-Z-boy recliners. a good place to do the "post game wrap up"...

like the iPod trick to fix a crap soundtrack. works great in busy airports, too...

November 11, 2008 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger kyknoord said...

I think I prefer the woohoo hippie fairytales to the standard hellfire and damnation approach, but I would just as soon have neither.

November 11, 2008 at 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

It strikes me that the energy demands to keep an outdoor skating rink usable in New York City must be astronomically expensive. I wonder how much longer that will be affordable?

Nowadays I pretty much only do the recreational skating (in an oval). Once upon a time I couldn't bear being on skates on the ice without a hockey stick in hand. But, I guess, times change.

You know, I don't go on at length about what I "know" about what happens after death. But what was said at your meditation class rings slightly true with me. Now, I am not even remotely religious in the conventional sense of the word (and my thoughts on organized religion and dogma could fill a book), but I do consider myself to be a spiritual person.

Just before my first wife died we made a bond to "meet up" afterward. And I don't care what anybody says or thinks; I know that she has been in contact with me "from beyond" to comfort me in the early days after her death. When I really needed it.

November 11, 2008 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

rob: The rink’s primary advertiser is the Canadian Board of Tourism. There are others as well. So much, if not all, of the cost is defrayed by corporate sponsorship. I would think that you are culturally predisposed to ice skate! Isn’t it a national requirement? And I have mad respect for your spiritual leanings, but I am jaded. I’ve seen so many hucksters and politicians misuse religion that my knee-jerk reaction is inclined towards doubt.

November 11, 2008 at 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that the rink in the John Cusack movie Serendipity?

I do believe in reincarnation but I believe that we are not thrust unwillingly back into life as punishment. We come back willingly to work on ourselves and learn lessons we have decided we need to know. Punishment is self-inflicted if you want to look at it that way.

November 11, 2008 at 9:29 PM  
Blogger sid said...

You're kidding me. Ugh if I ever get to NY skiing is one thing I plan on learning to do.

November 12, 2008 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

annie: Negative. The rink in Serendipity is Wollman Rink, located just inside Central Park near 59th St.

sid: Learning to ski in New York is all well and good, but please keep in mind that you could be flying back to South Africa in a leg cast!

November 12, 2008 at 10:28 AM  

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