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City parks belong to everyone. Right?

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IT IS springtime in New York, and spring happens mostly in the parks. There are cherry blossoms, suddenly, and purple tulips. Cooped-up kids are back on their bikes. There’s the haze of barbecue smoke and the smell of mulch and the sounds of birdsong and drums. It happened overnight, and it will pass just as quickly, because spring is an elusive and barely perceptible season. It will be summer soon.

Summer in the parks. That’s the subject of a series of long-lost photographs from 1978. The eight photographers who took them were normally on staff at the New York Times, but that summer the New York press corps was on strike. The photographers finagled a commission from the New York City Parks Commissioner to document the city’s parks. Nothing came of the photos: they went missing. Then they were found, about six months ago, by a conservancy official in two cardboard boxes. Some were published in the New York Times, and some are now on view in a gallery in Central Park. The show is delightful and unexpectedly challenging:…Continue reading

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