On my first trip to New York, I became obsessed with the benches in Central Park. Most lovingly commemorated lives well-lived and fondly remembered. I wanted to be remembered the same way.

Never mind the fact I have no family in New York, a lot of people I know had never been there, a few actively hated the city, and the rest would be unlikely to travel to New York for the express purpose of sitting on my bench. Did not matter. Still doesn’t.

I gave strict instructions to my friends J and V: “Part of my vast estate is to go toward buying one of these plaques. It’ll probably clean me out, but it’ll give you something to see whenever you’re in town.”

When I was back in New York the next year, I saw this plaque:

Romantic marriage proposal bench in New York Central Park
Central Park bench bought by a very romantic man with money to burn.

Within 15 minutes, I had written a romantic comedy in my head. How the couple bumped into each other on the subway platform at Columbus Circle, the misunderstandings that kept them apart, the cute kid/saucy old lady that got them back together, culminating in a dramatic, unbearably romantic proposal in Central Park that is nearly foiled by unanticipated bench repair and a wayward pedicab.

After this, I had to have a bench to call my very own. A quick browse through the Central Park Conservancy website got me to the application and the price: $7,500. [Updated: As of 2015, the price has gone up to $10,000]

Even though I’m reasonable enough to know naming a park bench in the most famous urban park in North America wasn’t going to be cheap, I couldn’t just help myself:

“Showoff.”

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