1.29.2011

Pictures from 70 Days of Walks: Days 22 - 28

Yes, it snowed. It snowed a lot. Before that, it was cold. Very cold.

Day 22. An afternoon walk west to the far West Village.
Intersection of W. 4th Street and 8th Avenue, looking south. 4:28 p.m.

Never mind all that. I have become part of the weather now, a singular force at 5' 4" in a parka and hat, moving in a general north by northwest direction and then shifting to the south. Actually, I walked in every direction this week, facing the fronts arriving from wherever they came. Mostly, I wanted to walk downtown.

Day 23. Walking south on W. Broadway near intersection with Prince St.
A cold, cold day. 3:44 p.m.

I was after the light. The light in New York this week, as the snow piled on top of snows, was spectacular. As fronts moved quickly, the sky would clear, leaving behind a luminous sky, the kind you see in American landscape paintings or in Maxfield Parrish pictures. Artificial light from fluorescent and LED lights, red and green stop lights, street walk signs, street lamps, and car lights danced with the white lights of bountiful snow. The sun, low over the horizon to the south, found a way to light the tops of buildings and the occasional puddles of slush on the street.

Day 24. Looking east to Mercer Street, just north of Houston.
4:06 p.m. 

Mostly, it was Hopper light.


"As a child I felt that the light on the upper part of a house was different than the lower part. There is a sort of elation about sunlight on the upper part of a house. You know, there are many thoughts, many impulses that go into a picture."
- Edward Hopper, from an interview with Katherine Kuh, Artists Voice, p. 134

Day 25. A cold walk on Sixth Avenue. I love this building and think this picture is a little wacky.
4:16 p.m.

Hopper painted one of his most famous paintings, Early Sunday Morning, originally called Seventh Avenue Shops, in January 1930. Of course it was January.

Day 26. I walked downtown in the morning during the first and unexpected snowfall of the day.
The temperature was near freezing, so it wasn't so bad.
Broadway, approaching Canal Street. 10:17 a.m.


"The loneliness thing is overdone," Hopper said. When scholars of the artist mention this quote, they often add a qualifier, arguing that his paintings reveal the loneliness and isolation of American life. Whatever. I would like to stand with Hopper. It occurred to me looking at many of my pictures objectively, that people might attribute to me that kind of loneliness. I don't feel that way at all, although I confess to an occasional twinge of feeling lonesome. That maybe a Texas thang [sic]. I tend to equate lonesomeness with existentialism, maybe because I enjoyed reading Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus in high school. In Texas. Mostly, like Hopper, I just like to look at the light on the buildings.

Day 27. The day after the record snowfall. 19 inches recorded in Central Park.
This is Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village. 4:53 p.m.


When I do walk alone, as I do every day, sometimes I want to find a place in New York that's just a little less crowded than Times Square. I also want to see the sky.

Day 28. Battery Park. Walking along the New York shoreline in winter
can be a  sublime existential experience.
Highly recommended. 3:05 p.m.

Bonus picture:

Early Saturday Morning. Edward Hopper's Studio.
Washington Square North, Greenwich Village.
9:29 a.m. this morning.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple, made with the iPhone 4 camera and various apps. Clicking on the images greatly enlarges them.

See also the series from 2009, The Light in Hopper.


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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