On Monday, I joined William B Helmreich for an interview with an Australian paper around the northern Brooklyn. His recent book, The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City, is absolutely worth picking up. His insights both on the walk and in the book have been illuminating- leading to thoughts I’ve not been able to put into words or to connect. Looking forward to finishing.
Yesterday was one of those days that everything looked and felt symmetrical. The world during my morning walk was perfectly composed under a constant and thing layer of stratus clouds. It rained only twice when I reached Avenue U on the Q. Must have been the light.
I ate falafel, hummus, and the second best potato salad at Falafel off the Korner to the sound of the funeral for the venerated Rabbi Ovadia Yosef of Isreal. Friendly and delicious though falafel always hurts my belly. Before leaving my house, I filled my water bottle with carbonated water and it exploded in the restaurant sending the large cap 6 feet into the air above my head. Another kind patron nearly caught it laughed with me hysterically for some time.
Many ceremonies must have been taking place as tons of gorgeously dressed people filled the sidewalk in Borough Park. A man in a Borsalino hat walked some distance from me with a bouncing gait, arms moving in the shape of pizza slices under a coat draped over his shoulders.
A few special moments from my last few walks:
Friday began in Bergen Beach with a fellow pedestrian proclaiming how happy he was to see me there. If only everyday could begin that way.
In Borough Park, on a busy playground, I walked past ten or so children holding on to a portion of a fence above their heads while romping as if they had just discovered gravity. Wish I could have asked exactly what the game might have been in their heads, but I enjoy guessing.
Before leaving for holiday a few weeks ago, a friend Drew and I found a somewhat abandoned shopping mall also in Borough Park. The design and lines seem never to have been updated making for a delightful relic of late eighties consumption.
The changing weather and travels north for the next week have left me in a reflective mood about this project. When I return, it will be the end of September and 36 days until my one year anniversary in New York.
One more year’s worth of trash; hundreds of miles of sidewalk; days of being lost; hours of landscape recognition and the delight that follows; countless situations I could never have imagined; days of anxiety during the times I could not work; a year of rebuilding after the hurricane; dozens of initial conversations explaining my purpose; minutes of sleeping limbs after sitting and gluing the map for too long; a handful of run-ins with moving vehicles; thousands of smiles at strangers, dogs, babies, moments, light, breezes, central air, heat; one pair of Oakleys; one pair of New Balances; two legs and two arms; a damn gigantic borough; another year of certainty.
Items on my list upon returning:
Write more on this blog (always), buy new sneakers, buy new sunglasses, find a permanent workspace to call home, invite more walking partners, hear more stories, learn, continue.
left to cut and glue. Averaging two a day now.
I’m finally back in the swing of mapping after a month of research and writing about community building possibilities surrounding the piece. Reading included The Neighborhood Project , as many cartography and urban planning texts I could get my hands on, Monocle’s The Urbanist, anything about New York infrastructure, and now revisiting Marshall McLuhan.
Once I’ve compiled everything collected thus far, I’ll focus on the digital map until the heat breaks. Feeling focused and once again damn excited.