Monday, August 07, 2006

Saturday In The Park

It wasn't the fourth of July, but the fifth of August. And then it was that the most blog-worthy event of the weekend transpired.

My upstairs neighbor Michelle and I were strolling through McCarren Park on Saturday around quarter after four, when we encountered a couple parks trucks and an unmarked cop car parked along the eastern path. Curious enough. Then I noticed a human-sized object covered with a white sheet
in the sunny strip of grass between the path and Bedford Ave. No one was sitting within 50 feet of it in any direction. All things considered, it was reasonably safe to assume that the human-sized object was, in fact, an expired human. Seeing as I'd never seen how the city reacts to a dead body in a public park, we decided to stick around for a while and see for ourselves (all in the name of journalism, naturally). How long would it take for them to send an ambulance, or a hearse, or whatever? The timeline proceeds as such:

4:25pm - A Mr. Softee ice cream truck passes nearby, then parks, providing a creepy soundtrack for a dead-body-finding. I find it strange that the city wouldn't be in a rush to remove a dead body from such a public place, and speculate that the parks people might put it in the back of the Mr. Softee truck to keep cool instead of letting it bake in 90°, direct sunlight while waiting for a more appropriately-suited vehicle. They don't.

4:30pm - One of the policemen gets in the car and drives away, leaving the other to stand there and tell people not to walk by the body with their dogs. It's amazing the number people he has to deflect, those who seem to be completely oblivious to the scene. No one appears to be acting with any sense of urgency, which, I suppose, is understandable, considering that he's already dead.

4:55pm - A marked police car shows up, the first official vehicle to enter the scene since our arrival. Clearly, their job is to confirm that the first four parks people and two policemen could correctly identify a dead body. This they do by lifting a corner of the sheet and looking at it. Then they leave.

5:15pm - Still nothing, and we're quickly tiring of this waiting game. A dump truck passes through the park, collecting garbage bags, which results in a flutter of tasteless jokes and suppositions. Then we leave and go to the Read.

6:15pm - Michelle relays to me via SMS that the body has disappeared. How and when exactly is still a mystery.

7:15pm - I pass by on my way home, and see a young couple sitting on the exact spot where the body used to be. I think about telling them, but what's the use?

Thus ends the saga of the McCarren body. I thought it would have been of greater concern, a matter of public health, but apparently there's no rush in removing dead bodies on a sunny Saturday afternoon. There must be more important things to do, like eat donuts, harass bikers, and oogle women. I understand.

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