Among the many things I love about Hyde Park is the real sense of community here. I know my neighbors, I let the kids at the park hold my daughter, I know which dogs on which blocks are friendly and which are evil monsters, lying in wait for me to walk by, only to have my quiet stroll interrupted by endless, pointless, noisy barking (I’m not a dog person, as it turns out). I like that, when I’m out for a run or shopping for groceries, I see the same faces: friendly people to whom I say a casual ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’
As I was doing a slow 3-miler on Monday (slow 3-milers are my current normal…though I’m running a half in less than a month, I can’t get to a consistent speedy pace to save my life), I saw two guys I see regularly: young-ish, with three Dalmatians between the two of them. I saw the Dalmatians when they were puppies, and I’ve seen them several times a week for a couple of years now. These Dalmatians (regardless of my affinity for dogs at large, I suppose) are a part of my tangential social circle. And when I think about it, there are a handful of people in Hyde Park whose faces I know, whose voices, even, are familiar (if only their breathy “hey”s), but whose names are a mystery, whose lives beyond the brief moments they intersect with my own are complete unknowns.
So I’m on a mission: to get to know the people I see as often as I see my parents. To ask these sort-of-strangers their names, what they do for a living, why they like living in Hyde Park. And to further hone the sense of community that I value so highly in my neighborhood.
I’m starting with Dalmatian Dudes, who I fully expect will be flabbergasted when I accost them on the bridge at 51st street. If you know Dalmatian Dudes, warn them I’m headed their way! I'll keep you posted as results of this social experiment come rolling in.
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