An American Weekend: Prospect Park South

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Elizabeth Gary planned to study her nursing books, for a test—but with a break for fireworks.

Revised Elizabeth Gary   As I strolled down Prospect Park South, children were riding their bicycles, families were setting up grills and barbecue stations, and plans of attending the “Coney Island Fireworks” could be heard on almost every other porch. The air of the summer evening is warm. At a local Checkers, I got in line to order food and the first thing that captured my attention is not the menu, but the sight of a Baby Blue bookbag hanging off the shoulders of the woman in front of me. The words on her bookbag read “Columbia School of Nursing.” I waited for her to complete her order and gathered the courage to approach her. “Excuse me, do you attend Columbia University?” I asked. She pleasantly smiled and replied, “Yes, I do. Why do you ask?” I told her I was interviewing local people in the area about their holiday plans and what is American about those plans. She agreed and we sat down at the one of the tables in the restaurant. Her name was Elizabeth Gary. “So what are your plans for July 4th?” I asked. “I’ll be studying for Maternal Fetal Newborn Physiology,” she said, looking slightly annoyed about it. “Why are you studying on the holiday?” I asked, “Because I have a huge exam soon and I have to study for it. That, along with celebrating my Uncle’s birthday” she answered. I asked her what was the most American thing she was doing for the holiday. “Going to Coney Island to watch the fireworks with my friends,” she replied. As she talked about fireworks she looked happier.

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