Walking New York

A fat lazy idiot tries to walk every street in Manhattan.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day 18: East Village and Some Parks (5 miles)

The combined powers of rain, laziness, and errands resulted in no walk this afternoon, so after sitting around most of the day, I headed out at around 10pm. It's only the 2nd walk I've done at night since starting this, the other being Times Square from a couple days ago. As it starts getting dark earlier and assuming I one day become employed, there will be more nighttime pictures. But for now, the only other place besides Times Square I knew I had to do at night was St. Marks Place in the East Village.

So I walked a weird path down through Union Square, then Washington Square Park, through Astor Place, over to St. Marks, all the way to Tompkins Square Park, up Avenue B to 14th Street, and back over to the real world. Washington Square was surprisingly quiet, but Union Square was crowded and St. Marks of course was very busy. I walked east pretty far because I wanted to see at what point it would get a little scary around midnight. I walked to Avenue D at some point last summer during the day, and was a little worried there, so I made it as far as Avenue B tonight before turning north. Avenue B wasn't particularly bad, but was getting a little too abandoned for comfort.

As always, let's start with the food pictures. I lived on 3rd Avenue and 9th Street last summer, and one of the best late night snacks in the area was Chickpea, a falafel place open until 4am on weekends. I remember the hummus and pitas being solid, and the falafels being very good, although I can't eat falafels as often as I can eat, say, hamburgers. But anything that's like $3 and tastes reasonable is good enough in my book.

Chickpea is on 3rd Avenue between St. Marks and 9th, and as you can see here, the building is under construction, and so they've put a big stupid billboard that blocks the best part about Chickpea: the giant FALAFEL SHAWARMA painted on the side of the building. The restaurant itself also has a pretty cool industrial-style backlit Chickpea sign, visible here, but that's blocked by the scaffolding too.

Anyway, Chickpea is a recommended late night food source, and falafels make decent walking around food, so you can try to wander St. Marks while eating it. But the really big news of the day was something I stumbled upon completely by accident. While walking back on 14th Street, somewhere around 3rd Avenue, I saw this:

Another Chickpea! What?!! I thought maybe some place had just ripped off the Chickpea name, but the website on their sign is the same as the real St. Marks Chickpea. But, the website doesn't acknowledge the 14th Street one. And it's only like 5 blocks from the original. None of this makes any sense. All I know is that Chickpea is creeping closer to my neighborhood, and that's a good thing.


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