"Hold hands with your partner and circle to the right." (click on photos to enlarge)
At the end of the day I was passing through Bryant Park which is located behind the beautiful, big, old public library on Fifth Avenue. This park was once dark and dangerous. Now it is a wonderful, small, gorgeously groomed park right in the middle of Manhattan where people can sit and enjoy the tall trees and flowers landscaped by renowned designer Lynden Miller. At this time of year, it was recently the site of the big tents of New York Fashion Week, but the fashion shows have moved uptown to Lincoln Center.
It was a pleasant, warm night as I walked through and I was thirsty. As I passed through the park I heard a country blue grass band playing and saw some special food and drink tables set up. The outdoor Southwest Porch lounge located at the southwest corner of the park was offering delicious draft beer for sale.
Well, I could not resist.
As I sipped my cold draft beer, a big square dance was starting in the park. Hundreds of people in all ages, shapes and sizes were gathering on the green lawn for a free square dance. The lively Foot and Fiddle Dance Co. band took to the impromptu stage and the dance director, or "caller," Pat Cannon came to the center of the lawn with a microphone. Anybody could join in. You didn't have to have a partner, Pat would find you a partner.
Soon everyone was promenading to the left. And promenading to the right.
Do-si-do your partner
Now swing your partner -
Up on the stage, Pat Cannon was very good at directing hundreds of people in a friendly way.
All in to the center –
Everyone was smiling - those dancing and those sitting on the side watching the dance. It brought a happy country spirit into the middle of the city; there are two more square dances coming up in September. In square dancing, you move on from one partner to the next so strangers were having fun dancing with each other.
With the different kinds of couples dancing, as partners switched sometimes two women or two men, strangers, would end up paired together. "It's ok!" said Pat Cannon. 'It's 2013! It's ok!"
City lights came on the office buildings surrounding the park.
And dusk fell over the fine library.