As I was boarding a train from Union Station to Penn Station, my mouth began watering with all the things that I wanted to do in this city I used to call home, just a little over two years ago.
From Penn station, Madison Square Park is just a short walk away.
And it's my favorite NYC park.
I know, who doesn't love Central Park, right? But Central Park is a city of its own, it's a whole day project, it's a story of its own.
But Madison Square Park?
It had Shake Shack before DC did. Way before. It's across from my favorite building in the world--the Flatiron.
It's five minutes away from the Union Square.
It's across from the Saint Sava Serbian Orthodox Church on W. 25th street.
It's just in the middle of it all, where ever you want to go, you can have lunch, or take a break, or feed the overweight squirrels.
Yesterday, there was also a beautiful Christmas tree there. And a hawk.
Yes, a real hawk, the first hawk I have ever seen up close.
So, what happened?
Passing through the Park, remembering how many times I have been there, summer and winters, observing sculptures or listening to the live music while having a picnic on the grass, watching U.S. Open on the big screen or waiting in line for the best milk shake and shroom-burger (vegetarian), I saw people staring at something on the lawn, snapping photos with their phones.
I approached, and there he was, or she was--a big bird, big wings, sharp beak, black and white, grey feathers.
So, I snapped a few photos as well, smiling, saying something along the lines--"Cool, I have never seen such a big bird so up close before...or in Madison Square Park..."
Come on, I grew up in a city, always lived in a the city; besides pigeons, not many birds around.
And then someone said: "it's standing on a squirrel..."
My animal-protecting instincts kicked in, and indeed, after seeing a poor, closed-eyes squirrel beneath the sharp claws, I proceeded to shoo away the hawk.
Yes, I said :"shoo, shoo" several times to the hawk, who stared at me, probably thinking "who the hell is this crazy lady..."
The squirrel appeared to be dead.
I felt so sad.
Never occurred to me that the hawk could move from the dead squirrel to me, the lady with a big, grey puffy jacket, and Benetton blue-grey-brown hat, waving her gloved hand in front of the bird's hawky nose.
New York City. Wild, in many ways.
Just as I was saying how happy those Madison Square squirrels were, having no one as predators except for high cholesterol.