Riverside Park Weekend: The Tepee Builders

On Saturday, a man and two boys were discovered building …  a tepee!

Tepee in process

As you may recall, we have wondered about the tepees, large and small, that mysteriously appear and disappear in Riverside Park.

"We have a table!"

Esau by small tepee some weeks ago

When questioned, the man affirmed that he has indeed been building tepees in Riverside Park for several years.

While we talked, the boys lugged two large flat stones into the center of the tepee, and placed a circular tin of pastilles on top.

“Look,” cried one. “We have a table!”

I told the man we admire his work, and are sad when the tepees disappear.

The builder

“Sometimes it seems we’re just gathering branches for the parks department  to  pick up,” he said with a smile and a shrug. “But it’s all right. There’s a kind of atavistic pleasure just in gathering brush.”

Tepee bones

On Sunday, Esau and I returned to admire the completed work.

Sadly, this is what we found.  No more tepee.  Only bones.

The bells of Riverside Church chimed Thanksgiving hymns. Okay, all right. We’re grateful we met the builders and saw a tepee in process.  But we’re still sad to see it so soon gone.

The sight of a painter in a pink plaid shirt working en plein air restored our equanimity.


Come back soon, tepee builders. We miss you already.

Explore posts in the same categories: In the City, November, strange encounters

3 Comments on “Riverside Park Weekend: The Tepee Builders”

  1. […] Riverside Park Weekend: The Tepee Builders […]

  2. pat hoey Says:

    I’ve never seen teepees in the woods except–and this is a big except– through your enchanting blog. But summers on Monhegan Island, in a protected forest of enormous pines called Cathedral Woods, we used to regularly discover tiny elaborate shrines of sticks and stones and bits of feathers at the base of the very tallest trees.
    It was always a thrill, coming on these anonymous gifts…
    Keep on trottin;!

  3. Charlotte Says:

    I love this post. It’s operating on so many levels, the story of the park, of the man doing something memorable with his boys, of Esau and your wanderings through this dense city forest. i could even hear you responding to those bells and laughed out loud…loved it!

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