Walking New York

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

Friday, August 18, 2006

Day 36 Photos - West Side and Midtown

One of the scarier blocks I've seen in Manhattan, 47th between 11th and 12th. Very industrial and Bronxy with the auto shops.

Train tracks running north out of Penn Station, coming above ground around 47th

Down on 11th in Chelsea, a huge old warehouse probably destined for a fancy loft renovation. Classy European car dealership already in place across the street.

On the east side of 47th, the Trump building

Also on 11th, the Copacabana, complete with sparkly walls. Not what (or where) it used to be.

One of a surprising number of parks I passed in Hell's Kitchen

Who knew that mega-popular midtown lunch cart Daisy May's actually came from a little shack on 11th Avenue? The cart, covered in the link above by the pretty solid Midtown Lunch blog, serves BBQ sandwiches and glass jars of sweet tea (you get to keep the jar) to the midtown office building crowd, and although I've never had it, I always wanted to, if just for those free glass jars.

Couple of 11th Avenue birds

All the time I've spent in NY, and this is the first time I've ever seen the Javitz Center. It's nice and modern-looking from the outside, although the area around it is still pretty run-down, and if they have to bulldoze it to build a new Madison Square Garden or Shea Stadium or Penn Station or whatever the plan is this week, I'm all for it.

Day 36: Finishing 47th (6 miles)

Walked over to 11th Avenue and up to 47th, then all the way across. I'd been wanting to do the 47th Street walk since I read an interview with one of the other guys in the NY Post article I was in, who said it was one of his favorite walks. It was interesting, for sure, seeing the change from dingy west side to Times Square to the UN area on the east, but I don't know why it's better than, say, 45th Street from river to river.

I did get stopped by some guy in Hell's Kitchen who told me I should take a picture of water falling from a building by the train tracks or something (there are train tracks running north that come in the outdoors around 47th, I assume from Penn Station). He said something about the water actually being from the ground but looking like it was from a building, because of the angle, but I never saw any water. First time I've actually been stopped, I think, and the guy wasn't threatening at all (he said he was a photographer too), just sort of quirky and possibly insane.

Photos from 11th Ave and along 47th coming next post, but for now, some strange ones...

Somewhere in midtown. I guess this has something to do with Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat's 1995 short story collection of the same name, although that seems like a really obscure reference. And even stranger, I've read that book and saw Danticat speak in college once about it. There also a Haitian restaurant uptown with the same name, which I believe is also influenced by the book, which itself is almost definitely influenced by some kind of Haitian folklore. Anyway, next time I pass it I'll look around more, and if you like dense but rich ethnic writing, check out Danticat.

In lighter news, I spotted a bunch of police horses (plorses?) downtown, including this one in front of a playground in Chelsea.

And outside the Flatiron Building, I ran into this insanely huge dog, which nearly tripped me crossing the intersection, and which may or may not be related to Hercules from The Sandlot.

Coming Soon

I walked Tuesday and today and haven't had a chance to update them yet. Look for Tuesday's tomorrow, at least. But more importantly, see Snakes on a Plane. Right away.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Day 34 Photos - Changing Houston

The most interesting part of the walk, aside from the chicken guy mentioned below, was seeing a part of the city still in the process of changing. Parts of Houston are modern and upscale, and parts are still the same as they were over 100 years ago. And it's not an east/west split. The very upscale Avalon Christie Place apartment building (below) is directly across the street from a very old, run-down kind of building (2nd below):

The stores and restaurants are changing too. Of course Katz's is still going strong on the east side of Houston. A little west of it on the same block is Russ & Daughters, a Russian Jewish delicacy store that has two cases when you walk in. On the left are all kinds of smoked fish and spreads. On the right are dozens of different kinds of dried fruit. Makes for an interesting smell, but it's really a cool place, and apparently one of the last of its kind on the Lower East Side:

And of course, it wouldn't be downtown New York without the required hipstery diner:

And finally, back west somewhere, the entrance to the Highline Building, where the highline begins:

Day 34: Houston Oddities [6 miles]

Walked down the west side, then all the way across Houston and back up the East River. I wanted to cross back over on 22nd but gave up and took a bus back at the end. Still a 6 mile walk, which is decent.

Saw several weird things, but this was the weirdest. I was going to write a long story about this, but it's easier to just sum it up in a sentence. A deputy blogger from Tom Green's website was dragging a frozen chicken down the street and stopped me for an interview:

For the prize of 2nd Weirdest Thing, this oddly threatening no parking sign from the West Village:

Third place in Weirdness was this giant turf soccer/baseball/rugby field in the very-industrial-seeming Pier 54 at Houston and the Hudson River:

And a couple other runners-up in weirdness:

Crazy sky looking south from 23rd and 1st Avenue. The lovable weatherpsycho from this site would surely consider it evidence of a government-controlled weather conspiracy. I always did like Connery in The Avengers movie.

Not particularly weird, but still interesting: the 007 bus.

I consider this pretty weird, a giant factory with smokestacks and all in Manhattan. Here's another view of the smokestacks looking up one of the east Avenues: