January 22, 2011

Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 15 - 21

"Polar high pressure." This is the phrase I read this morning in the National Weather Service's discussion of upcoming weather conditions in New York. This past week may feel somewhat balmy in comparison.

Day 15. A walk along the East River Park Promenade.
Described in Wednesday's post. The weather was fairly calm, a little chilly,
but manageable. You don't want to be near water in the wind.

"The average city dweller regards snow as a nuisance. It interrupts transportation, and interferes with wire communication; it makes automobiling impossible, so that we are reduced to the necessity, so humiliating to some of us, - of walking, and of wearing cumbersome rubbers or boots."- from the essay "Snow, An Asset or Liability?," The Mentor, Volume 8. (New York: Mentor Association, 1921)

Day 16. This is New York, after all, and a little jaunt to the Theatre District
serves as a reminder of place. Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 W 46th St.

The rain or snow or blowing wind this week made walking at times difficult. I fantasized that I would later be found, like Per Hansa in the novel Giants of The Earth, as a frozen figure in a snow storm. Growing up in Texas, reading the story about Norwegian immigrants struggling to build a life on the Dakota prairie scared me. My school made us read it in seventh grade.


Day 17. New Yorkers throw out some nice furniture. I liked this sofa.
It was either Sullivan or Thompson Street below Houston.
The picture features an odd quartet - in the back, a blue sports car is parked behind
a sensible family vehicle. In the foreground, a simple woman's bike with a basket
and the unloved couch. There's a story here. 

"The swirling dusk grew deeper. . . . Darkness gathered fast. . . . More snow began to fall. . . . Whirls of it came off the tops of the drifts, circled about, and struck him full in the face. . . . No danger--the wind held steady. . . . At home all was well . . . and now mother was saying her evening prayers with Permand. . . . Move on!--Move on! . . ." - Giants in the Earth: A Saga of the Prairie by O. E. Rölvaag ((1876-1931), from the final chapter, "The Great Plain Drinks the Blood of Christian Men and Is Satisfied." Published in English translation in 1927. 

Day 18. Night walk in the Village. Walking at night in the rain has its pleasures,
especially knowing it will eventually end in a warm place at home.

Surely, walking in a New York City winter must be easier than strolling in the Yukon Territory. Well, maybe not -

"The climate of the Yukon basin is dry, with, as a rule, but slight diurnal variations in temperature. ..The thermometer varies from 90° F. in summer down to - 50° in winter, but in the dry calm air no inconvenience is ever felt from this low temperature. A lady who lived in Dawson last winter informed me that not once last winter was she prevented by inclement weather from taking her regular constitutional walk of from two to four miles a day."- ‪Scottish geographical magazine, Volume 16‬ By Royal Scottish Geographical Society, 1900, p. 340

Day 19. Foggy, cold, windy, Varick Street, looking south.
Thoughts of warmer places had me looking for an escape.
When this happens, I wander over to the Holland Tunnel entrance.
That's the tall Woolworth Building in the distance.

Several times this past week, as I contemplated the prospects of the daily walk, many excuses came to mind. I have learned, however, that I never regret going out.

Day 20. Ahhh, winter fun in the city. Bryant Park skating. Cold, crisp. with places to warm up.
And the New York Public Library in the background, another good place to beat the winter.
 

"Above all, do not lose your desire to walk.  Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness.  I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it."  - Soren Kierkegaard, Soren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers, Part 1: Autobiographical, 1829--1848, p. 412

Day 21. And why did it start snowing hard again on Friday afternoon, even as the bigger snow had departed?
A mystery to contemplate, as I got caught on the median in the middle of the Bowery.
This is where they will find me, a frozen figure on the Bowery, sometime in the spring of 2011.
I must walk off this thought.


Images by Walking Off the Big Apple with the iPhone 4 camera and apps.


Posts in this series:


• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 1-7 (posted January 8, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 8-14 (posted January 15, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 15-21 (posted January 22, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 22-28 (posted January 29, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 29-35 (posted February 5, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 36-42 (posted February 12, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 43-49 (posted February 19, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 50-56 (posted February 26, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 57-63 (posted March 6, 2011)
• Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 64-70 (posted March 12, 2011)

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