Last night, when I could have been busy making Shabbos for our table of eleven (this is going to be another one of those "Guess Who's NOT Coming to Dinner" weeks...), Avram, Eric and I - and 60,000 fellow New Yorkers and visitors - made our way downtown to see Andrea Bocelli live in concert on Central Park's Great Lawn.
These free tickets were a hot item but I didn't realize HOW HOT until we arrived at the 72nd Street entrance to the Park an hour before showtime, only to be directed to the back of the line.... all the way down Central Park West, to Columbus Circle at 59th Street and around half of Central Park South and then into the park.... that's well over a MILE...!!! Of course, what goes to the end of the line, must walk back.... in the on and off rain for over two hours. New Yorkers are far more congenial than we give them credit for though, and the wait was pleasant, save for the brief interludes of showers. Of course, some people didn't quite know where or to what they were going:
- Fellow "a", who must have been making his way briskly uptown to the park entrance, questioning loudly into his cellphone as to why everybody was walking downtown, not realizing that the group facing uptown was the LINE and when he got to the front of it, he would be sent right back down with the rest of us to wait in it....
- Grandma "b", talking in to her cellphone, telling her friend, "I'm on line for a concert in the park. Who is Bocelli anyway?"
And what I DON'T DO, to get the shots for you.....
(of course, typical 'group psychology' - the moment I got down, dozens of other people decided to try it out as well.... more on group psychology later...)
After about two hours on line, darkness had descended and we finally made it INTO the park. I didn't say into the CONCERT, just into the PARK.... there was still another half hour walk as the line snaked its circuitous route to the Great Lawn. Further disheartening us at this point, was the sight of people LEAVING the concert! The rain and cold had discouraged them and they were heading for home. (More room for the rest of us!)
But even Avram, who may have grumbled once or twice during all that "fun", admitted that once we actually found our places, it was well worth the hassle. To see that many people, enjoying such lovely music and in such good spirits, is yet another one of those ONLY IN NEW YORK moments.
Now before you watch the video, I promised to discuss more on "Group Psychology". I think anybody studying this, should be required to attend these sort of events because I never cease to be fascinated by how personalities change when people become part of a group.
As you can see, the crowd was quite thick, even AFTER some delicate souls departed. One or two inconsiderate people chose to STAND so that they could have a better view, thus obstructing the view of tens of thousands of people behind them.
While many grumbled silently, nobody was able to venture more than one or two mildly audible snide remarks. But every group needs a hero to start the revolution. Eric slowly wended his way to where the offenders were standing and very kindly explained to them that they were obstructing the views of many and could they kindly sit down. Though they paid him no mind, he realized that they were recording and refused to budge. He then jockeyed himself into a standing position directly in front of THEM, so that they could see the impact they were having first hand. Still no movement. Finally, as they were recording, he loudly voiced into their devices that he was terribly sorry that he was ruining their recording, but could they kindly sit down so that others could see as well. This, coupled with the fact that the group now had a "leader", led to countless cheers from the crowds and energized others to shout their own requests for consideration. I even heard suggestions from the crowd that everybody should photograph the offenders and post the pictures on Facebook (today's universal "group"). The group won out. They moved.
It's tough to record in the dark with spotlights. The actual live stage is the semicircular halo to the right of the screen. We were treated to a lovely performance by not only Andrea Bocelli, but other well known vocalists as well (who knew Tony Bennett was still alive...?).
And I don't even get first dibs to blog about my own experience. Apparently, one of the local news agencies recorded our group and beat me to it on the 11 o'clock news....
Gotta love it.