Monday, June 29, 2009

Picnic in Prospect Park

In the last decade or so, I've been much more likely to spot a rainbow on a flag rather than in the sky (especially since the city's Gay Pride Week ended yesterday).

But on Saturday I saw an honest-to-goodness pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-it rainbow: the perfect cap to a lovely afternoon.

A friend was celebrating his birthday with a barbecue in Prospect Park, Brooklyn's answer to Central Park. The forecast had threatened rain for Saturday, but when Paul and I arrived there wasn't a raindrop in sight. The sun shone bright and hot-- an ideal day for a picnic.

We obviously weren't the only ones who thought so. Hundreds of people set out blankets and grills, jockeying for prime spots in the shade. The park was so dense with picnickers that it was difficult to find our group at first.

In fact, it felt a bit like tailgating at Ohio State, with the hamburgers, hot dogs and carefully disguised alcohol. But instead of a sea of scarlet and gray, the dress code at the park leaned more toward sandals, shorts and sundresses.

The grass was still wet thanks to last week's nearly nonstop rain, and it was about to get wetter. A light shower arrived about 6 p.m. and continued off and on for the next hour or two. Luckily we were protected by the tall trees overhead and -- more to the point -- a small canopy the birthday boy himself had the foresight to pack.

But the rain was well worth the result: A full rainbow that had us humming "The Wizard of Oz" and had me at least looking for leprechauns.

Brooklyn doesn't have much in the way of stars or fields of wheat, but when it comes to rainbows, it's Brooklyn: 1, Columbus: O.

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