Walking around New York City often involves bearing witness to many headline news stories. As a pedestrian journalist, I often report on the everyday life in New York City, but on occasion I like to report, if not without the occasional bias of an opinionated blogger, on the bigger stories as they unfold. The following 10 events or developments from 2011 stood out from the pack.
10. East River Ferry
Back in the Gilded Age, ferry service was a regular thing on the East River, but the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883 put many of the ferries out of service. Beginning in June of 2011, the NY Waterway's East River Ferry returned to the waters, inaugurating a commuter ferry service from Manhattan to stops in Brooklyn and one in Queens. The service is a testament to the need for alternative transportation in the city.
9. De Kooning Retrospective at MoMA
Two hundred works by the influential postwar artist, almost all breathtaking in ambition and color, made this critically acclaimed retrospective richly rewarding. (through January 9, 2012)
8. High Line, Section 2
The section of the High Line north to W. 30th Street opened to the public in June, providing intimate views of adjacent old and contemporary buildings, a patch of lawn, and imaginative plantings along the way. One of the best places to walk the tracks in all of America.
7. Snowiest January Ever
Beginning in late December of 2009, the city experienced snow after snow after snow. The Mayor's team didn't handle the first snow well at all, prompting a review of when to call a snow emergency. After the blizzard of January 25-27, 19 inches of snow were measured in Central Park.
6. Sleep No More
Sleepwalking is a form of walking, of course, and in addition to Lady Macbeth's famous walk, almost anyone who has seen Punchdrunk Theater's game changing Macbeth-film noir mashup at the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea may still think it was all a dream. This one, however, they remember.
5. The Arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn
The arrest and house imprisonment of a major French political figure seemed almost like a setup for an inevitable Law & Order episode. The house arrest "set" was too pretty - a comfy house at 153 Franklin.
4. NYC Evacuation Zones for Hurricane Irene
We learned about Zone A, a geographic designation that sounds like science fiction. As an improbable hurricane in late August approached New York City, the residents of Zone A were told to get to higher ground. As it turned out, the storm arrived in the city with a whimper. Residents upstate and in Vermont were not so lucky.
3. The World Trade Center at 10 Years; The 9/11 Memorial Opens
While the World Trade Center site seemed to languish for years, suddenly we have the startling sight of the towering One World Trade Center appearing from unexpected viewpoints in the city. After President Obama announced the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, thousands of people gathered at the site. The tenth year anniversary in September was marked with solemn remembrances and the opening of the 9/11 Memorial.
2. Gay Marriage
In dramatic fashion, on the night of June 24, 2011, lawmakers in Albany voted to legalize same-sex marriage in New York State. In the city, celebrators headed to Christopher Street and the Stonewall Inn. On Sunday, the celebration continued with a happy Gay Pride Parade. Many participants wore wedding veils.
1. Occupy Wall Street
Just when you thought that the bankers and financiers could get away with their spurious acts, expecting the public to act like docile sheep, a miracle happened in Zuccotti Park. The police came, and they were often rough, but no one was afraid.
Images by Walking Off the Big Apple. Clicking on each title will link to the original post.