Central Park wasn’t always so bucolic.
Gangs of toughs—teenagers and the macho middle-aged, usually drunk, occasionally including a couple of off-duty cops—roam the Ramble at night, engaging in an old American pastime: fag bashing. You don't have to be gay. You don't have to be exposing yourself. You don't have to be doing anything except walking through the tangled darkness to be abused, shoved, threatened at knifepoint, kicked, and beaten.