The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Spending Time in Central Park Is Not for the Faint of Heart or Weak of Nose

Features Editor
Published: September 19, 2012

Fordham students know that Central Park is a great place to sit, relax with friends and get hit in the face by Frisbees. That’s right: it’s a jungle out there, a jungle full of speed rollerblading teams and people doing yoga. The trees are pretty predictable, but the park-goers are not. There are a lot of things to potentially get hit in the face with (or splashed with, or run over by).

I try to be wary of threats to my safety in the park, but sometimes, I’m the one scaring the tourists and yoga people. At least, I did one day last week while I was on a run.

Runners are not rare in Central Park. In fact, you are virtually guaranteed to see more runners in one trip around Sheep’s Meadow than most Americans will see in an entire lifetime. And the monetary value of all the running equipment worn in the park at any given time (think fuel belts and shin compressors) is greater than the net worth of Oprah and Bill Gates combined. I don’t know that as a fact per se, but I have a feeling that it’s true.

So, the fact that I was there in the park running was nothing strange. But about halfway through my run, I went to scratch my nose and realized why I had been getting surprised looks from people walking past me: my nose was bleeding pretty profusely. Spontaneous nosebleeds are something I’m used to during allergy season, so there was no cause for major concern, besides the fact that I was in public and my face was covered in my blood. I made a quick decision to abandon my workout and go off in search of some kind of tissue.

I spotted a food vendor who I figured would have napkins and jogged up to him. “Hey,” I said.  “I have a nosebleed.” The look on his face told me that he’d gathered that much. My prognosis didn’t look especially promising to the naked eye: blood was running down my face at an alarming rate, and I was also sweaty and alone. The vendor stared at me. I was hoping my appearance would speak for itself, but when he didn’t take any action, I asked for a few napkins. He handed them over along with a bottle of water, which a couple of nearby tourists from abroad suggested I pour over my head. Not convinced that any of these people were equipped to help me deal with the nosebleed situation, I thanked them and made my way to a park bench.

This was when I started feeling like a minor menace to society. At first I wondered, maybe a little selfishly, why no one was stopping by my bench to offer assistance. Wasn’t a clearly injured runner alone in the park something that a Good Samaritan would want to come check out? But it slowly started to dawn on me that as I sat by myself on that park bench, using napkins and a water bottle to methodically wipe blood off my hands, I looked more like a maniacal serial killer than a jogger with nasal problems. I was just another possibly dangerous weirdo for people to walk past quickly, avoiding eye contact.

In retrospect, it might have been less creepy for me to wash up in a bathroom, or maybe hidden behind a tree somewhere. But regardless, now I know that becoming a social pariah in Central Park is as easy as having sinus-related allergy symptoms. Is social pariah too strong a phrase? I thought so, as I took a long cool-down walk around the park paths before heading home to my apartment. But then I went upstairs, looked in my bathroom mirror and saw the giant, goatee-shaped bloodstain on my chin. Then, social pariah sounded about right.


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  • J

    JonnaApr 14, 2024 at 3:02 pm

    Love your story. I grew up in lower Manhattan, Mulberry St, 60 yrs ago!