Caroline Franklin likes to toss coins into a circulating fountain in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, just below Fifth Avenue. “It’s a pond, it’s a water feature,” she says. “I find it calming.” In a small tinkling ring, the glass bowl is filled with real gold flakes, giving off an eerie, tinkling sound. “They have lots of gleam and shine,” Ms. Franklin says. “They really enhance the sound of the fountain.”
The near-Stone Age chariot parked in front of the fountain caught her attention, too, and she pauses to stare at it. “I wouldn’t buy gold off of it,” she says. “But it’s a piece of history.” Her shift on the park bench in front of the fountain is interrupted by a brightly clad, high-heeled woman crossing the street — and Ms. Franklin, sitting among her Bloomberg tie-dye clothes, asks if she can photograph her.
At Time Square, the annual Bonfire of the Vanities in 1972 was so outlandish that Times executive editor William Safire used it as a theme for his column. “I thought they should celebrate it,” says Dominique Bujold, who works at the shoeshine stand outside Barnes & Noble at Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street. They do. If the stage in the street is any indication, the carnival begins at 6 p.m. each night.
Meanwhile, in 1989, the early-September jazz ensemble Music Man Panorama assembled the brass from the New York Philharmonic for a concert at the Museum of Modern Art. Bill Campbell, a trumpeter, remembered what it was like to play in Music Man Panorama and asked Ms. Bujold to take part. “I started playing the same parts as I’d played in their band,” she says. “I liked playing with them — they’re cool.” Then, to get some good looks in front of the crowd, she strutted across the stage with the big brass bagpipes of the Orchestra London in front of another. “It was weird,” she says. “But they were so cool and easygoing — it was like our first date.”