Thursday, March 15, 2012


I read the NY Times daily but somehow I missed this awesome post from the City Room Complaint Box feature. It's from last week and the author zeros in on one of my running-related pet peeves: people who go the wrong way around the Central Park reservoir.

For those who don't run regularly in Central Park, the reservoir is ringed by a 1.58 mile dirt running path. The path is relatively narrow--wide enough for about three people to stand side-by-side--so users are restricted to running in one direction, counter clockwise. Strollers, dogs, and bikes are also prohibited. There are bright green signs every few hundred yards with instructions, arrows and pictures for the newcomers. Unfortunately, plenty of folks seem to ignore the signs.

During peak hours, especially in the evenings or on weekends, the path gets so packed that it can be tough to navigate when everyone is moving counterclockwise. Throw in a few folks who feel entitled to go clockwise and it's gets downright frustrating. Unlike the post's author, I've also seen the occasional bike, stroller, and dog on the path too. The people with bikes are usually tourists with their Bike N Roll rentals and I'm sure some of them don't speak English and/or are genuinely confused. I've have a harder time believing that everyone else is. As the Complaint Box author says:
Is it really so difficult to heed the signs? It may be possible to miss sighting one of them. It takes some effort, or sheer indifference to the world and other people around you, to miss all of them.
I've talked to other runners who sometimes [knowingly] go the wrong way around the reservoir and they don't see it as a big deal and plenty of commenters who posted on the Times website seem to think the Complaint Box author is loopy for suggesting they follow the signs (actually something of them seem to think she's a whole lot worse than loopy...). Clearly this issue isn't as black and white as I had thought! 


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