a great, inspirational and enlightening read

I just finished the book, I Am The Central Park Jogger by Trisha Meili.  I vaguely remember hearing about how a woman was viciously beaten, raped and left for dead in Central Park in the Spring of 1989.  I was an 8th grader back then and paid little mind to the news, as my attentions were more focused on my friends, boys, tennis and latest issues of Seventeen and Teen Beat.

As I’ve only become interested in running and the like three years ago, a book about people who run or this book (which is actually not about running, but recovering from a major trauma) would have never gone on my ‘to-read’ list, but when I saw it on the non-fiction table at B&N, I decided that I wanted to read it.

Because I never knew the details of the case (how horrifically violent it was or where exactly it took place), it was surprising to read about the extent of her injuries and so inspiring to follow her journey of recovery and rehabilitation.

It was also very surprising to learn the location of the attack – the 102nd Street transverse.

I’ve run, walked, stood, hung-out on that stretch of road.  It is part of nearly every run.  It is a quarter-mile road that crosses the park East to West (or vice versa, of course).  It’s not well-lit and has no road markers/lines denoting traffic lanes, as I believe it’s supposed to be for park or emergency vehicles only.  There are softball fields to the south side of it and the North Woods on the other side that include the deep ravine where Trisha found.  Despite its seeming isolation, it usually has decent foot traffic as many use it to cut out the Harlem hills from their route.  It is also part of the 4-mile or incorporated into one of the 5-mile running loops.  Nearly every Central Park runner or cyclist knows the 102nd St transverse, just like they know the 72nd St transverse (which has waaay more traffic, tourists, etc).

I’ve never felt unsafe on the 102nd St transverse, but now that I know it is where the attack took place, I do think about it with a different mindset.  I haven’t yet crossed it since finishing the book, as my last Central Park race covered the outside loop and my morning run circled the Jackie O reservoir.  But on my next time using the transverse, I am going to be thankful for Trisha’s recovery and that the park is now such a safe place to get our exercise on!

[To any concerned parties, I only run by myself in daylight.  The only time I am in CP after sunset is if there’s a concert or something like that and there are thousands of others around.]

This was my view this morning around 7AM…

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, taken from East 90th entrance looking toward the Upper West Side (pic from iPhone)

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2 Comments

  1. Glad to hear you are safety conscience… sounds like a horrific ordeal for one lady though. Did they find the perp? Hope so.

    • They arrested five teenagers, who confessed and implicated one another (later they would retract their confessions). They were tried and convicted in 1990. In 2002, a man who was already in prison confessed that he, alone, was the one who attacked Trisha and there was DNA proof. The five men originally convicted had their convictions vacated and were released.

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