A Fellow Park Steward

Dear Diary:

The announcement that Adrian Benepe is leaving as parks commissioner reminds me of my encounter with him a few years ago:

I was jogging in Riverside Park, and on the promenade near the flower garden near 93rd Street I saw a woman talking on a cellphone and standing with a dog on a leash. They were on a piece of lawn behind a sign that read, “Please Keep Off — Recently Seeded.”

I stopped, walked over to the sign and turned it so that the words faced the woman. With a very bored expression, she got off the grass while continuing her phone conversation.

As I returned to my run, a man, also running, came up beside me and said, “I thought I was the only one who does things like that,” and he offered his hand to shake. “I’m Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner.”

After a few minutes and a few more words he continued his run, and I mine, though with a lighter step than before.

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