How to Play in a Sprinkler
Three generations of New Yorkers relish the finest summer pleasure the city has to offer—a sprint through shooting walls of water.
The sun cooked the water off the cement, creating a thick smell. The New York City version of fresh-cut grass, this was the smell of summer. The water from the sprinklers was icy cold, so even though the air was heavy and hot and the sun unforgiving, I could only stay under the frozen shower for a few seconds at a time. My cousin Sabina and I ran in circles, darting in and out of the sprinkler and shrieking. Now when I hear children playing I sometimes wonder why they always have to scream, but then I remember the thrill of trying to outwit the water, to get cool but not cold, and it seems perfectly appropriate.
I spent almost every day during the summers of the early nineties in the sprinkler park in Tompkins Square. Sometimes my mother was there, but usually the playground was a trip my father and I took together. He sat on the bench close enough to see and hear me, but far enough away that his book wouldn’t get splashed.
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