Walking New York

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

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Streets You've Never Heard Of: Lispenard Street Edition

If you've ever gotten confused between West Broadway and Broadway and wandered around SoHo in a suit for 45 minutes worrying because you're really late for an interview and sweating because it's 5000 degrees but nevertheless buying one of those coconuts with the straws in it from Canal Street (overrated), then you might have been on Lispenard Street without knowing it. In more habitable parts of the city, 45th Street might be helpfully labeled West 45th or East 45th, just to remind stupid people where they are. But downtown, West Broadway, Broadway, and East Broadway are three different streets. Take note.

Lispenard runs the two blocks from West Broadway to Broadway just south of Canal Street. Crowd-wise, if Canal Street represented New York City, Lispenard would be Barrow, Alaska. I don't have any pictures of Canal yet, so imagine that classic picture of a dozen people in a phone booth, but spread out over about a mile of fish-smelling streets. I hate Canal Street, but somewhere inside of me, I think I'd miss it if it was gone. Like the movie North. Here's what Lispenard looks like:

Notice the theme of dangling fire escape ladders. This continued all the way up the street, at least 4 buildings in a row. I come from a place that when there's a fire, you walk out the front door with your dog and laptop and drive to a hotel to go back to sleep, so I guess I just don't understand these, but I can't really picture how they work. Do they just slam to the ground to make stairs? Is there a release button somewhere? What if someone's underneath it (like in the picture)?

Anyway, there's a post office garage on the block (possibly the back of the Canal Street Post Office, which is a pretty cool building if you're looking to get out of the air conditioning for a while), and the truck in the middle is some kind of super postal transport vehicle that I wish I took a better picture of.

Naturally, there were a lot of mail trucks parked on the block, which ruined the quiet residential feel, but I guess the dull roar of illegal commerce drifting down from Canal Street was already doing that.

Finally, at the Broadway end of Lispenard was another example of When Capitalism Attacks, a nice building that used to be the National City Bank of New York (click the photo and you should be able to see it etched in the building), but that's now home to a Payless Shoes. I guess it fits, because this building is right next to Canal Street, which is basically Payless Everything.

Day 25 - And Boy Are My Feet Tired (10 miles)

No photos today, but by far my longest walk so far. I don't know if I'm going to count every street on my cumulative map because I'm not totally sure they're all right, but the big stretches I will probably mark down. Not much else to say without any photos, but I'm going to add another Streets You've Never Heard Of in a few minutes. Barring some disastrous rain, I'll do a long walk Monday with pictures. Tuesday I'm going to Providence to watch my mediocre thesis film in an even more mediocre film festival (but one which owns the impressive domain film-festival.org). I was thinking of taking pictures of the train ride and some places around Providence just for a change of scenery, but it means I have to carry my camera all day. And I think I need to take like a 3:30am train to get there for my primetime screening slot of 9:30am on a weekday morning, so I'll be lucky to even get on the right train that early, much less photograph it. Either way I'll bring the small camera, so maybe there will be something. Then, hopefully, Wednesday it's back to normal.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

July's Best Pictures

July will forever be remembered by me and very few other people as the month when it all began. I feel like this may be the best month for pictures I'll ever have, just because the sky is so nice over the summer, and around October we'll start with the several months of flat grayness.

My favorite posts from July were Finally Finding Bryan Murphy and Staten Island Special. My favorite pictures are below, with the date I took them and a link to the post they were in.

July 27

July 26

July 26

July 20

July 20

July 19

July 15

July 14

July 13

July 12


I did a short 2.5 mile walk yesterday, from midtown down to 23rd, but I didn't have my camera with me. And it might be a while before the next long walk with photos. It is unbelievably hot and humid today, and tomorrow will only get worse. Then Thursday it's supposed to start getting better, leading up to a reasonable weekend, but I've got my mom in town until Sunday, so I probably won't have time to do a walk with pictures.

I do have some clip show style posts planned, including a recap of the ten best pictures from July, two more Streets You've Never Heard Of that I've been saving, and a post about other walking adventures from around the world. That'll take up 4 of the 5 days that I'll probably be off. I may cover some new ground during these days, but unless it's significant, I probably won't count it if I can't get pictures.

There's always a chance of a late night walk in the next couple days with pictures, but for some reason it only seems to get hotter here at night, so it won't be much. My main concern right now is if it's possible to get ice cream delivered.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Day 20 Photos - Planes, Trains, Automobiles

Aftermath of some kind of street fair on 25th Street

Madison in midtown

Also off Madison somewhere in the 40s or 50s, was this lobby to a building with two Mini Coopers in it (I think those are Mini Coopers, right?). It seemed open to the public, even at 11pm, but I was afraid of the guy on the phone and so I just took the pictures and left.

Street between Madison and Vanderbilt with Grand Central and the Chrysler Building in the background

The corner of 5th Avenue and 59th Street, outside FAO Schwartz, where there were still a decent amount of people. And yes, that's a giant white Apple logo in a David Blaine-like glass case.

This docking yard for the Long Island Rail Road was a cool find on the walk home along 10th. I forget exactly where it was, but I'd assume somewhere in the mid 30s, a couple blocks west of Penn Station. I used to pass some train yards on the Metro North ride to Westchester, and I always found them pretty interesting for some reason. Not as cool as the airplane graveyard, which I'm still convinced is somehow fake (too perfectly aligned for a junkyard, isn't it?), but fun nonetheless.

Day 20: Where'd Everybody Go? (5.5 miles)

Admittedly, I took a strange path tonight, up Madison, over 57th, and back down 10th Avenue, but it was pretty quiet out there. Maybe it's a Sunday night thing, or maybe Lucky Louie has a big following amongst the Madison and 10th Avenue crowds, but the lack of anything happening was a surprise. I didn't even take that many pictures, and I managed to do 5.5 miles in well under 2 hours, which is a pretty good pace for me. I'm thinking about taking tomorrow off after doing 5 days in a row, but I'll see what else is going on. Let's do the photos:

Wavy street lights and cars

The big find of the day, and perhaps of the entire project so far: A McDonalds, in Manhattan, with a parking lot and a drive-thru. Unheard of, as far as I knew, but then I found this one on 34th St. and 10th Ave. Two floors, open 24 hours. I'm in my 2nd month of McDonalds Anonymous, but this is as close to a relapse as I've come. I don't see how anyone with a car in Manhattan could possibly resist giving up their spot or taking it out of a garage to drive to a place that's already on every corner. Brilliant but useless, just like those shoes with the lights in them.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Day 19 Photos - Around the Park

The northeast corner of Central Park, at 110th Street and 5th Avenue, with a stuffed St. Bernard type thing under a tree.

On Central Park South, a fully dressed trojan warrior offering bike rides.

The Museum of the City of New York (which I didn't know existed) on 103rd and 5th

I'm starting to consider myself a semi-expert on street pretzels, and while I still believe that the guy on the southwest corner of 33rd and 6th has the best pretzels around, I think that today I may have found the worst. I took the subway to Columbus Circle to start the walk around the park, and stopped for a pretzel on 59th somewhere around 7th Avenue. The resulting pretzel was cold, bready, and undercooked, which is difficult to pull off, because they come cooked already. But in this case, I don't blame the pretzel distributor, because all the way around the park, the pretzel stands I saw looked like the one above, where the pretzels are housed in spacious glass cases, instead of on top of a heated mound of salt, or preferably, in a steamer drawer. I suspect that the vendors around the park are required to have nicer carts than the ones in other parts of the city, and so the pretzels sit in a cold little box all day. More sanitary? Yes. Tasty? No. I'll take my chances on the ugly germy ones downtown.

A cool castle-like courtyard to a building on 105th and Central Park West. I can't believe it's just a condo, but that's what the sign says. The Google satellite view is pretty interesting too.

Woman dressed like a cheap clown on 5th Avenue somewhere, and apparently not realizing it.

Around 107th Street on the east side of the park seems like a strange place for a knish stand, but the sign says it's been around since 1953.

Globe at Columbus Circle

The Constructionheim