“Ready, set, g…’ He doesn’t even have time to finish before his friend is off; his pale blue shirt lost in the summer sky, his legs pedaling furiously to pull away.
Perhaps the boy in blue hadn’t heard his friend properly over the hum of the jet overhead, the clattering of the 4 train across the road or the trickling of the fountain in the background. The younger of the two, shorter and stockier, blue shirt beams a cheeky, knowing smile as he speeds round the narrow oval racetrack.
Either way, this race was over before it had begun. Not that it mattered too much.
This oasis of calm between the bustle of Yankee Stadium and its surroundings to the west and the Bronx’s honking, traffic-laden Grand Concourse to the East was their own personal racetrack for the day. The pathways may as well have been designed with these young boys and their bikes in mind, save for the occasional pigeon or piece of trash, which litters the makeshift course.
The sea of grass in between the concrete track lies verdant but deserted; the midday sun too fierce to bear. Beneath the shade of trees that line the course and sway in the occasional gust of wind, a grandmother finds a wooden bench and rests. The young girl in bright pink and Barbie sunglasses has worn her out, so the boys have a new spectator.
“You cheated man,” the older boy exclaims playfully. His hands are gripped tightly to the handlebars in anticipation of the next race as another train careers past. “This time I got ya.”