My walk this morning began with the sound of "Cockadoodledoo!" that you sometimes hear in Greenwich Village. No, not really, but last April 15, 2008 the neighborhood woke up to the same sounds. I don't know what's with the seasonal appearance of barnyard animals in LaGuardia Community Gardens, but these guys always provoke a few double-takes among passersby.
I really wanted breakfast, and so from stopping to watch the roosters strut their stuff I wandered south of Houston into SoHo. Approaching the corner of West Houston and Prince Street, I came across the sight of many policemen, some traffic police and others in riot gear. I was somewhat alarmed until I saw the fleet of catering and equipment trucks. I knew then that it was a location shoot, so I asked about it. I approached a young policeman, asking him if he was a real policeman. He said no, he was an actor, and pretty happy to be mistaken for one. I learned they were filming a TV show titled The Unusuals.
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Mistaking actors for real policemen is also not unusual in this neighborhood, despite the name of this particular show, because so many crime dramas are filmed here. I was embarrassed later on my walk when I asked two real policemen if they were real policemen. Strolling past a storefront on Wooster I saw in the window a painted gun sculpture by artist David Buckingham titled "Travis Bickle III."
While walking to and from the Landmark Coffee Shop and Pancake House on Grand Street (@ Centre Street), I noticed several empty store fronts and more than the usual amount of graffiti. With the deepening recession, SoHo looks shabby genteel these days, with frayed edges in its old designer clothing. It's starting to feel like 1976 all over again, the year of Taxi Driver. At the corner of Wooster and Grand Street, I noticed that street artist Banksy's rat mural is now gone, whitewashed and ironically spray-painted over with graffiti.
My breakfast at the Landmark Coffee House and Pancake House, depicted here in the slideshow, was just what I wanted and amounted to only $5.65. After gazing out the window and looking at the signs in Chinese along Centre Street, I paid my bill and made my way home. When I arrived back at the rooster coop on LaGuardia Place, I ran into a former neighbor who was pushing his child in a stroller, and I stopped to say hello. I hadn't seen that child since she was an infant. The walk was nice, I thought, in its New York normal way, even if I realized upon seeing this growing child that with every walk and every recurring season, I've grown, just like the city around me, a little bit older.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple, morning, March 10, 2009.