Im one of those people that are easily prone to Cabin Fever, and now more than ever, my anxieties are starting to brew. I need my daily dose of outside just as much as I need my weed, I’d say I need it even more so. I prefer to smoke outside and without it I get a bit cagey.


So as I break the seal of quarantine I run out to my local deli on the Upper West Side to buy myself a Dutch master. Now I usually don’t roll on the street because conditions aren’t always optimal. But on one of the few sunny days March had to offer, I found a bench by Central Park and I was able to perform surgery. This entailed splitting the Dutch from top to bottom, and making sure to remove any excess wrap from the ends. Then I rolled up some fire Chernobyl, which is a sativa dominant strain to keep me going once the blunt was over. On regular occasions I only smoke the inner leaf of the dutch, but today I decided to roll the outer leaf, which makes it a slower burn and has an additional “kick” to the chest from the additional tobacco. So now I was ready to embark on my journey into Central Park.


As I enter the park on 81st street, right across from the Natural History museum, I spark up the blunt and start to head uptown. This area of the park is referred to as Seneca Village, where many early settlers of the Upper West Side resided. As I make my way around, there are many plaques that give insight into the history of the park, and I normally wouldn’t stop but of course while I was smoking I read every one. As I pass 83rd street, I end up walking up some very interesting stairs cut straight into the bedrock hidden under the park, at the top was Summit Rock, which I found out is the highest Elevated Point in the park. So naturally, I stopped and had to get high at the highest point in the park. In addition to that, the summit provides a very nice view of Central Park West and you can even see as far as New Jersey. If you are looking for a real in the cut spot to smoke, there is even a cliff that sits right above the street that is out of the way on the main path of the park. Which is perfect because you are out of view enough to not be bothered, yet you still get to have a scenic view of the bustling city with a park vibe.


I walk past the summit, further into the park I end up stumbling upon the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir, which is a large reservoir in the center of the park. At one point in time it used to be one of New York City’s drinking water sources during the 19th century. The perimeter is used mostly as a track for runners, and photo stop for tourist. But today there weren’t as many as there usually are, just a couple of tourist snapping photos. As I pass them by I notice a flock of mallard ducks all paired up, they circled each other like a dance looking for food in the water, every once in a while they’d stop and all spin in the opposite direction. I’ve got to say, I stood there staring at these ducks for like seven minutes as they got all boo’d up, then I noticed that the blunt and I were getting funny stares of our own so I kept it moving. I left the main trail and found a path right next to the reservoir that was lined by Cherry Blossom trees on the edge of blooming. (By the time you’re reading this the trees will be in full bloom with their pink pedals on full display. )


It was at this moment I realized how quiet the park actually was. As I looked in every direction. I saw not a single soul for a good minute. It was surreal to be the only person at a place where I usually go for people watching. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t mind being the only one out when I’m smoking, it gives me less to worry about, but it left an equally uneasy feeling at the same time. Especially as I strolled past the tennis courts, which normally would be an afternoon of some amateur entertainment watching pros train work out their kinks. Finally after a while of not seeing anyone, I pass by the basketball courts and I see a guy shooting shots on just the backboard, the park had taken all the rims clean off the courts. And on that note, my blunt was done and so was my need to be outside, so I circled back to the entrance on 96st and hopped on a Citibike back to resume my quarantine and wait out the spring showers expected for the rest of the month.


Thanks for taking another walk with me, stay high and stay safe in these streets.

-Rafael Hernandez

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