Because of construction delays at PS 333, I have to postpone the promised post on the progress of the Upper West Side aquaponic roof farm. Instead, I’ll tell you about venturing up to my roof in the wee hours last Tuesday morning.
Each December, we look forward to the beginning of longer days, marked by the winter solstice but this year on December 21, 2010, it coincided with a once-in-many-lifetimes event, a full lunar eclipse.
It was a cold, clear night in New York City, full of promise of spectacular eclipse viewing. I set the alarm for 2:45 a.m., bundled up in winter gear and sneaked up as quietly as possible to my 110-year old co-op roof. I read the forboding sign announcing that an alarm would sound if I opened the roof access door, but then I saw the disconnected wires dangling loose and took the chance. I gingerly opened the door and was hugely relieved that the night stayed silent. After propping the door open with a water bottle taken with me for that purpose, I stepped out. I love rooftops but I sure didn’t want to get locked out up there!
LOOKING UP and west, high above the Hudson River, there was the moon with an Earth-shaped shadow cast across it. The orange haze of the eclipsed moon grew darker as my fingers and cheeks grew colder but I couldn’t stop gazing at the slow progress of the eclipse moving from left to right across the moon. Eventually, I did a slow 360 degree turn, taking in the Empire State Building and the Met Life Building. I drew in a sigh of contentment that I am, at long last, living in New York City, then tip-toed down the stairs to warm up, satisfied that I had experienced this celestial event where I was meant to see it: On a NYC rooftop.
A Happy New Year to you, and may 2011 bring you much joy and many more fun and fact-filled Looking up with Leslie roof blog posts.