A Walk on Central Park West: Making Peace with the Early Dark

One of the disorienting aspects of daylight saving time is that it gets dark so early this time of year, usually before many people get off work. The effect can be disquieting, making long days at the office feel even longer. On the other hand, New York can look glamorous at night. And, if walking helps with stress, then a nighttime walk may help bring a little glam back to an otherwise tedious day.

May I recommend Central Park West?

This thoroughfare bordering Central Park is rightly famous for grand apartment buildings dating from the late 19th century through the 1930s. Central Park West is also home to churches, synagogues, museums (the American Museum of Natural History and New-York Historical Society serve as starting points for this walk), clubs, and philanthropic societies. There's little retail except on the north and south ends, and when Central Park spills out into the roundabout of Columbus Circle, the effect of the lights and commercial businesses is particularly dazzling at night.

By early November, the holidays are sneaking into the picture.

Yes, that's the Batmobile in the window of the New-York Historical Society, part of the exhibition Superheroes in Gotham (through February 21, 2016).

Looking at the swells in their posh habitat makes the stroll seem particularly cinematic, especially of the classic Hollywood variety. Yes, that flickering feeling is due in part to the backdrop of Art Deco architecture, but also walking through dark spaces and then brightly lit entranceways mimics the flickering on a screen. (Theories of the flâneur often talk of cinematic perception.)

The walk from W. 79th St. to W. 59th St., or twenty blocks, is about one mile. Most north-south walks in Manhattan are easy to measure with the guideline of 20 blocks=one mile.

In addition to the health benefits of a walk, a healthy dose of architectural eye candy, like on a clear New York night, can help put some distance on the demands of a challenging day.

An evening walk affords glimpses of residents dashing in and out of golden lobbies and of doormen practicing a new stance.

The map accompanying this post shows architectural highlights of Central Park West.

All of these pictures were taken on an iPhone6 before 6 p.m. on a Tuesday evening.

Related post:
Central Park West: The Theater of Architecture (January 10, 2011)

More on measuring distances in Manhattan at this post.

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from November 3, 2015.

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