Dear Forest Park:
You have been my favorite birding destination since I moved to Queens two years ago. The short three blocks that I faithfully walk to arrive at your doorstep have a groove worn in them from my feet. I have enjoyed the thrill of spring migration, the birdless doldrums of summer, the foliage and confusing warblers of autumn, and the depths of winter within your boundaries and no park could ever take your place in my heart.
Despite the fact that I hold our time together in the highest estimation you might have noticed that I haven’t been coming around as often lately. Life, through the birth of my son Desmond, has managed to limit the time I have spent with you, but that has made our time together all the sweeter, as I cherish every spare moment I spend walking your tree-shaded and bird-laden precincts. I have spared as much time as I could, and I think that sometimes you are almost aware of how much I wish I could spend more time, like when you send bird after bird for me to photograph at close range.
But, my lovely Forest Park, this note is not about the times we have spent together in the past, as marvelous as they have been, but about the future. You see, Forest Park, I am moving. Now, now, don’t get too upset – it is not as if I am leaving the borough or even the neighborhood – I am merely moving eight blocks. Granted, they are long blocks, and they put both the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Queens Boulevard between us, but it is not as if I am leaving for trendy Brooklyn and that hussy Prospect Park or the shining lights of Manhattan and the well-maintained trails in Central Park. No, I will stay true to you entirely.
What, Forest Park? Did you inquire about the proximity of Flushing Meadows Park to my new apartment? Well, yes, I will technically be closer to Flushing Meadows Park then I will be to you in my new place but Flushing Meadows Park doesn’t mean anything to me. Sure, the two large lakes attract a variety of waterfowl and large waders, and, yes, a rarity or two show up on occasion, and, as I am sure you know, it is vastly underbirded. But you have no reason to be jealous; you have far more wood-warblers, vireos, woodpeckers, and flycatchers. Flushing Meadows Park is loaded with athletic fields and lacks shade. I would never spend as much time there as I spend with you.
So, Forest Park, I just wanted you to know that the longer walk might mean that I will visit a bit less often. Once Desi is a bit older and the weather a bit warmer I might be able to take him out for a long stroll your way but I doubt that will happen more than once every other week or so. If you want to see other birders I will understand, but you will always be the number one New York City park in my humble opinion. I’ll miss you Forest Park, even if you are only eleven very long blocks away.
With love in my heart and binoculars around my neck,