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Showing posts from January, 2008

WOTBA's Walking News Digest: Walking Stories from the Chinese Snowstorm, Walking for 911-related Illnesses, and the Discovery of Shoes

This just in from the English edition of the People's Daily Online from China: Many individuals, stranded in the recent heavy snowstorms, ended up walking home or setting out on foot in search of loved ones. One young man, Du Dengyong, walked 16 hours to rescue his girlfriend who was trapped in a bus. He lost contact when her cell phone died, and he didn't find her. He is determined to resume the search and told the reporter he would crawl if necessary. See more at "When the going gets tough, the tough get ... walking." William Rhoden writes in today's NYT of former New York Giants star George Martin's trek across the country to raise awareness of the health needs of the September 11 rescue and recovery workers. Martin is walking 20-30 miles a day to raise money to donate to the hospital systems treating the workers. Since he began in September Martin has walked 1600 miles. He said that the wind in Oklahoma was kind of rough. Wind come sweepin' down the pl

More Walking Books: "I am, a stride at a time."

"Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space. Five, six: the nacheinander . Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible. Open your eyes."- James Joyce, Ulysses When I find myself explaining that Walking Off the Big Apple is often more about the idea of walking than a practical handbook of walks (though I hope there's plenty of those here, too), someone usually recommends a book about walking. High on many lists is Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust: A History of Walking , a meditation on the intersections of walking with culture, history, and politics. Others may mention an older New York walking book such as Helene Hanff's Apple of My Eye or Helen Worden's Round Manhattan's Rim . An ordinary novel, or an extraordinary one such as James Joyce's Ulysses , can often be read as a book abo

Sick in Bed and Reading About Walking

Maybe I over-exerted myself in the East Village yesterday, bringing on what appears to be a common cold, or maybe it was Saturday's stroll up Fifth Avenue. Whatever it was, I am down for the count. The winds over the last few days have not helped, nor the dry indoor conditions that send blue sparks flying even on the lightest touch. I thought my dogs and I were going to electrocute one another. I've taken to private chambers today (if you like the duvet cover, I wrote about it in an October post ), curling up with my walking books. Here I am with Jessup's A Manual of Walking (1936). Right now I'm reading the final chapter titled "Walking With Burdens." Jessup argues that the inhabitants of modern Western civilization do not often walk correctly, because they're forever carrying bags and packages in their hands. Jessup makes a case for the head: "Head-carrying is really a more rational affair than hand-carrying, although to be an expert you need to ha

Seeing Red, the Color, on East 4th Street

The other day, as I was walking along E. 4th Street in the East Village, I kept seeing the color red everywhere. Today, just to prove to myself I wasn't hallucinating, or projecting Bolshevism upon the entire neighborhood (although that history is there ), I went back and took some images of all the red things. I think more women wear red coats on E. 4th than anywhere else in the city. I have a red coat myself, and I feel out of place in other parts of the city. I also like the RVCs (red velvet cupcakes) at Pinisi's. To test my theory that E. 4th is more red than parallel streets, I walked back west along E. 6th. I saw some red on E. 6th, but I'd say E. 6 th is more of an aqua street. I don't think this discussion is frivolous, because color casts a powerful emotional feeling while walking down a street. I felt energized and empowered by the red of E. 4th. Sometime this week I'm going to walk along W. 4th. I have a hunch it's a horse of a different color.

Walking Art Video: Mesmerizing Animated Wall Painting by the Artist Blu

I enjoy this animated wall painting from the artist Blu. I also like Blu's website , not only for its clever design but for the sketchbooks. I haven't sketched in a long time. I usually sketch outside, but it's too cold, and I'm getting cabin fever. I get vicarious pleasure from watching Blu's walking/sketching on the walls, something I know I can't get away with at home.

Weekend Frivolities: Cupcakes, Buildings, Obama, Comments Now Open

• After finishing that last self-guided walk, Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos, I felt like I had walked from Fifth Avenue to Santa Fe and back. That was a big walk! I'm still putting together the interactive map of Fifth Avenue, but the rest of the walk is now fully assembled on new blue and beige pages HERE . From analyzing the site feed, I see that a lot of people liked that walk. • For blogger-types who like to write long posts like myself, I highly recommend using Google Pages , a feature still in the Google Labs. That's how I'm putting together the complete versions of the walks. • The cold weather makes me hungry, so yesterday I decided to visit Sugar Sweet Sunshine on Rivington and drink some coffee and eat a red velvet cupcake (or rvc, as I like to call them). They have two kinds, one with white icing and another with chocolate icing. I don't advocate walking to a bakery as a destination if weight loss is a goal, but I decided that if you walk far enoug

Epilogue: Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos

When Mabel Dodge first saw the Taos Pueblo, she felt an intense surge of longing. In Edge of Taos Desert she writes: "It was as though the Pueblo had an invisible wall around it, separating the Indians from the world we knew–a wall that kept their life safe within it, like a fire that cannot spread. "How self-contained it seems! I thought, and how contented it feels!" I mused to myself. "I wish I belonged in there!" For many years after my father died, my mother and I traveled almost every summer from our home in Dallas to Santa Fe, staying at the old La Fonda Hotel. Sometimes we drove there, a seemingly endless and boring drive through the Texas Panhandle but an increasingly fascinating journey toward the end. It took us a few days to adjust to the altitude difference, so we would spend the first days keeping close to the main plaza. On one trip we joined a group traveling to Taos, via the High Road. Toward the end of the day we stopped outside the Taos

Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos: The Art Pilgrimage to the West

See related posts for Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos: Mabel Dodge, Georgia O'Keeffe and New York City . Readers of this site who also regularly peruse The New York Times may have picked up today's NYT (January 25, 2008) art section to see yet another article on art in New Mexico. In this case, Roberta Smith reviews Richard Diebenkorn in New Mexico , a new exhibit at the Grey Art Gallery (NYU) that features a selection of paintings that the Ab-Exer Diebenkorn made while living in Albuquerque in the early 1950s. Smith gives the exhibit a glowing review - you can't miss it, a large reproduction covers the front page of the art section, and I plan to write something about the exhibit myself here over the next few days. O'Keeffe's visit to New Mexico was certainly just one among many. John Sloan, who I've written a lot about here, visited Santa Fe in 1919, the same year as Mabel Dodge made her move, and he bought a house there in 1920. He spent four months o

Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos: Georgia O'Keeffe at The Met

I went to the Met on Tuesday to look at Georgia O'Keeffe paintings, but first I had to find them. A couple of museum workers thought they had seen one or two in the Modern Art section, but they also recommended that I check with the woman that runs the tiny shop next to the American Wing on the opposite side of the museum. I hadn't planned on my visit being another athletic adventure , but I nevertheless ended up pounding a couple of miles inside the Met. Fortunately, I found the O'Keeffe paintings early on. After winding my way through Roman art and through the Michael Rockefeller Oceanic galleries, I made my way through the first rooms of the Modern Art section and could reassure myself I was in the right century. After a turn to the right and then around another corner, I saw paintings by Charles Sheeler and Arthur Dove. Surely she is near. And, yes, voila!, a room of Georgia O'Keeffes, and more than a couple. Ten. After spending the week with her story, I was happy

Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos: Dining New York by Southwest

See the related posts for Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos: Mabel Dodge, Georgia O'Keeffe, and New York City . I'm a Fritos-type person, and in my experience it's always the skinny vegetarian person who shows up with the blue corn tortilla chips at a party. Blue corn, however, is the spirit of New Mexican cuisine, in addition to posole, green chili peppers and Chimayo chili powder. While there's no exact match in New York for dining in an adobe courtyard and smelling the piñon wood burning in a horno oven while looking at the stars, the city does have a few good Southwestern restaurants worth visiting. Mesa Grill 102 5th Ave, New York 10011 Btwn 15th & 16th St See Frank Bruni's revisit to Bobby Flay's popular restaurant here . This review is fresh, at the time of this posting just a day old. Agave 140 7th Ave S, New York 10014 Btwn Charles & W 10th St Los Dos Molinos 119 E 18th St, New York 10003 Btwn Irving Pl & Park Ave Miracle Bar &am

A Death in SoHo

The news of Heath Ledger's death yesterday came as such a shock, and I was surprised to learn he lived just a few blocks away. Like most, I learned of his tragic death from the mass media. For my after-dinner walk, I walked south along Greene St., past the luxury furniture store, the high-end coffee place, the Apple Store, and all the design stores and boutiques. I was nearing Broome Street when I saw ahead of me the flashing lights of the NYPD police cars and an ambulance heading west. I learned later that Ledger's body was removed from the building at 6:30 p.m. Standing across the street from Ledger's SoHo apartment building, I was surrounded by six satellite vans and a growing throng of mostly twenty-somethings of Ledger's age. They talked to reporters, text messaged friends, and snapped photos. I overheard a few references to Marilyn Monroe. There wasn't much to do except look up at the fourth floor loft windows or glimpse at the live feeds in the satellite tru

Fifth Avenue & The High Road to Taos: Georgia O'Keeffe's Long Road Home

Read the revised and updated 2012 version  here . When Mabel Dodge invited Georgia O'Keeffe to spend the summer with her in Taos in 1929, O'Keeffe accepted the invitation without first consulting her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, a dominating spouse. She spent the summer there without him anyway, awakening to the possibility she had found a new place that seemed like home. "She wrote to Henry McBride from Taos in 1929, 'You know I never feel at home in the East like I do out here-and finally feeling in the right place again-I feel like myself-and I like it- . . . Out the very large window to rich green alfalfa fields-then the sage brush and beyond-a most perfect mountain-it makes me feel like flying-and I don't care what becomes of art.' - Georgia O'Keeffe: Art and Letters by Jack Cowart and Juan Hamilton Stieglitz was an aging New Yorker, embedded in the cultural life of the city, and far-away New Mexico was a place best left to his wife. In February

"Walks Singing": The Selma to Montgomery March, March 21-25, 1965

The distance from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, the state capital, is about 54 miles. When marchers assembled for the third attempt to make the walk in support of voting rights with the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in March of 1965 - the first had met with state-supported violence at the Pettus Bridge and the second stopped by court order, several participants were not fully prepared for four days of walking 12 miles per day and sleeping in tents on the roadside at night. But conviction will overcome these kind of obstacles. Thousands of people flew into Selma and Montgomery to assist with the march and to give whatever aid they could. The march itself had been limited to three hundred participants at any time. Among the entertainers who attended a rally on the fourth night of the march were Shelley Winters, Tony Perkins, Tony Bennett, Nina Simone, Dick Gregory, Sammy Davis, Jr., Mike Nichols and Elaine May. On this last full night of the march, the last before the final miles i

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: The April 15, 1967 Antiwar March from Central Park to the United Nations

Organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the antiwar march from Central Park to the United Nations on April 15, 1967 was among the largest antiwar marches in New York history. Though estimates widely vary from 100,000 to 400,000 in attendance that day, participants included a broad coalition of civil rights activists, among them Martin Luther King, Jr., and an ideological spectrum of antiwar activists. After assembling in Central Park for a peace fair, speeches and performances, the marchers walked down Fifth Avenue and then made their way east to Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at the UN. Though city officials worried about violence and mayhem, the march was peaceful, and the five people arrested belonged to the group of protesters who were opposed to the march. The following newsreel account reveals the usual establishment sarcasm that's directed toward the protesters. In my opinion, marching with others for a just cause is a fine way to walk off th

The Building that Would Glow at Night: Raymond Hood, Georgia O'Keeffe, and the American Radiator Building

Designed by Raymond Hood , the American Radiator Building of 1924 fit the bill of the clients - it was massive, solid, and it would glow at night. While Hood wanted the building to look like a cathedral, he knew that the many window openings would overly lighten the heaviness. He solved the problem by making the facade black. He didn't want lights turned on in the building after dark but directed the upper floors to be illuminated with floodlights. Georgia O'Keeffe not only painted the Radiator Building at night but with all the windows illuminated. The painting is one of several O'Keeffe made in the mid 1920s in response to the changing New York skyline. At the time she and Alfred Stieglitz lived on the thirtieth floor of the Shelton Hotel at 49th and Lexington, and O'Keeffe frequently walked near the new building. O'Keeffe's painting of the Radiator from 1927 (the same year as Fritz Lang's Metropolis , tellingly) is remarkable for its color and for t

Fifth Avenue and The High Road to Taos: Mabel Dodge and The Paterson Strike Pageant

Read a revise, update post about the Paterson Strike Pageant here . In the late spring and early summer of 1913, Margaret Sanger, Max Eastman, John Sloan and his wife Dolly, the Harvard-educated radical journalist John Reed (see Warren Beatty's Reds ), I.W.W. leader Big Bill Haywood, and others worked tirelessly to organize the Paterson Strike Pageant of 1913. Over a thousand workers in the silk mill industry who had walked off their jobs earlier in the year took part in the elaborate staging of their plight.The venue was Madison Square Garden, when the Garden was located off Madison Square Park. Dodge writes, "No one realized the fun of having placed the letters I.W.W. ten feet high on each of the four sides of the Madison Square Tower in bright red electric lights, so that they could be seen from one end of town to the other." (from Movers and Shakers ) In recounting the events of the pageant, Dodge acknowledges, "Everybody worked except me." Dodge'

Fifth Avenue & The High Road to Taos: Mabel Dodge Sees Art By "A Schoolteacher Out West"

Read the updated, revised version from 2012 with all the posts in the series  here . Flashback: In the Fall of 1915 Georgia O'Keeffe was teaching at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina where she started working on a series of charcoal drawings. She tried out new techniques she had learned from her NY teacher Arthur Wesley Dow, especially a new way to treat light and dark, and the resulting work was like nothing she had done before. She sent some of these drawings to her close art school friend, Anita Pollitzer, who in turn showed them to Alfred Stieglitz at his 291 Gallery on January 1, 1916. Every artist could use an Anita Pollitzer. The daughter of a wealthy Charleston, South Carolina family, Pollitzer could turn on the Southern charm. A burgeoning artist in her youth, she later made a name for herself as a suffragette and activist for the National Women's Party. Showing charcoal drawings of an unknown artist friend to someone as established as Stieglitz takes a

Gertrude Stein, The Big Bear Buddha of Bryant Park

Read the updated, revised version from 2012 with all the posts in the series  here . "In a large studio in Paris, hung with paintings by Renoir, Matisse and Picasso, Gertrude Stein is doing with words what Picasso is doing with paint. She is impelling language to induce new states of consciousness, and in doing so language becomes with her a creative art rather than a mirror of history." - from SPECULATIONS, OR POST-IMPRESSIONS IN PROSE by Mabel Dodge ( Arts and Decoration, March, 1913). Dodge's essay on the modernist, experimental writing of Gertrude Stein helped popularize the author in the United States. The essay was published and distributed at the 1913 Armory Show, the landmark blockbuster exhibition that introduced European modernism to New York. Gertrude Stein and Mabel Dodge had frequent misunderstandings and did not always get along. At one point Dodge asked Gertrude's brother, Leo, why Gertrude seemed so distant, and according to Dodge, "he lau

Ladies of the Canyon: Mabel Dodge and Georgia O'Keeffe

Read the updated, revised version from 2012 with all the posts in the series  here . "Trina wears her wampum beads She fillls her drawing book with line Sewing lace on widows' weeds And filigree on leaf and vine" -Joni Mitchell, "Ladies of the Canyon" See the post Fifth Avenue & The High Road to Taos for the beginning of this walk Mabel Mabel Dodge, for four years during the 1910s, occupied an elegant apartment at 23 Fifth Avenue on the corner of 9th Street, a space she enveloped in white. She painted the woodwork white, papered the walls white, and she covered the windows and floors with white curtains and white rugs. She served white wine at lunch, and she often wore white dresses. She created a place where her identity could take shape, and she filled the space with other people who had already defined themselves - socialists, painters, Bolsheviks, newspaper columnists, poets and anarchists, who could give her a new sense of self against all

"Opium-Eating is Not Congenial to Walking," Says Virginia Woolf's Father

Thumbing through my vintage walking books and reading descriptions of the routine perambulations of the most famous writers in literature, I hang my head in shame over how little I walk. Essays about walking published prior to our own era make note of standard daily walks in the twenty-to-thirty mile range, far longer than the 10,000 steps or five miles recommended these days. Leslie Stephen, the father of Virginia Woolf and a walking enthusiast, wrote an essay "In Praise of Walking" describing the relationship of walking to the development of English literature. He writes, "The literary movement at the end of the eighteenth century was obviously due in great part, if not mainly to the renewed practice of walking." He cites William Wordsworth's walks in the Lakes and the Alps and Thomas De Quincey's daily ten miles. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, though consumed by bad habits, could walk farther than most avid walkers today: "Opium-eating is not congenial to

Fifth Avenue & The High Road to Taos: Mabel Dodge Luhan, Georgia O'Keeffe, and New York City (A Walk)

Read the updated, revised version from 2012 with all the posts in the series here . Introduction Years ago, in the plaza of Taos, New Mexico, my mother and I struck up a conversation with a guy who ran a sandwich stand. He told us he was a New Yorker, a former business executive who decided on a whim one day to move out west. While stuck in traffic for hours on the Long Island Expressway, he decided to go home, collect the wife and children, and leave New York for good. He said he never regretted the decision, and he was happy selling sandwiches on the Taos plaza. Mabel Dodge (1879-1962), the wealthy heiress at 23 Fifth Avenue, and Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), the famous artist whose first exhibit was held at 291 Fifth Avenue, could have lived out the rest of their lives in New York. In 1917 Dodge married painter Maurice Sterne and had her eye on a new apartment at 23 Washington Square North. In April of 1917 Alfred Stieglitz exhibited a series of O'Keeffe's wate

The Violence of Walking, According to Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Walking, then, is a perpetual falling with a perpetual self-recovery. It is a most complex, violent, and perilous operation, which we divest of its extreme danger only by continual practice from a very early period in life. We find how complex it is when we attempt to analyze it, and we see that we never understood it thoroughly until the time of the instantaneous photograph. We learn how violent it is, when we walk against a post or a door in the dark. We discover how dangerous it is, when we slip or trip and come down, perhaps breaking or dislocating our limbs, or overlook the last flight of stairs, and discover with what headlong violence we have been hurling ourselves forward." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Physiology of Walking," from Pages From an Old Volume of Life: A Collection of Essays, 1857-1881 . Seventh Edition. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1887

"Toes Are Really Short Fingers:" More from A Manual of Walking

(Click to enlarge image: from Elon Jessup's A Manual of Walking from 1936) My copy of Elon Jessup's A Manual of Walking from 1936 once belonged to a couple named Jeanne and Bill Taylor. I acquired the book as a gift, and I don't know them. I would have liked them, I think, because they took great care of the book. The Taylors affixed a book owner's label to the endpapers, that's why I know their names, and I surmise from the slips of papers stuck into the book that they were members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. A review of the book is pasted onto the back endpapers. According to this clipping, the reviewer liked the book but thought that the title was too prosaic for such witty writing. He suggested that it should have been titled "Feet First." The writer, Elon Jessup, sure loves to wax poetic about feet, and he was particular about the proper fit of shoes. I have heard that it's best to shop for shoes in the afternoon, when the feet are gi

"A Person of Movement:" Elon Jessup's A Manual of Walking, 1936

In the previous post , I quoted an essay from an anthology of walking essays published in the 1930s. I'm enjoying my little collection of vintage walking books so much that I wish to continue sharing their contents in the days ahead. Please see before you Elon Jessup's A Manual of Walking published in 1936. A charming writer, Jessup was an authority on scouting and wrote several books on the subject. A Manual of Walking features practical advice for putting one foot in front of the other. His topics include the relative merits of fast and slow walks, the under-appreciated role of the big toe, and a lengthy discussion on taking care of the feet. I particularly enjoy the following paragraph from Ch. 2, "How Fast and How Far?" Here, Jessup explains that brisk walking is most useful for the boring parts of the walking journey: "....There are those who take on walking as systematic daily exercise for the sole purpose of keeping physically fit, and very good gravy

Walking Through A Recession

News on Wall Street this week was grim. After a few dramatic sessions on the stock exchange, talk of a looming recession grew louder in the mass media and on the campaign trail. In New York, luxury retailers like Tiffany reported soft holiday sales, and Starbucks is losing the coffee market to fast food giants. I'm concerned that the city will see a noticeable decline in visitors from the domestic US market, and it's clear that the New York tourist industry has shifted its marketing already to visitors from other countries. Many businesses will suffer from the ripple effect of a recession, even in New York. What ever shall we do? What types of businesses and activities are recession-proof? Historically, the liquor business and movie theaters have been known to fare well during economic downturns. Money is tight, so a beer at a bar and a movie ticket ($6 + $12 = $18) would be more affordable than a prix fixe dinner and a Broadway show ($75 + $80 = $155), for example. Looks like

Dining Near Washington Square Park, Revised and Updated

Please see the revised and updated dining guide to Washington Square Park by following this link. (Revised November 2011) Visitors to Greenwich Village may enjoy some of these food options around Washington Square Park. The list of places is particularly suited for visiting NYU. View Dining Around Washington Square Park (updated November 2011) in a larger map As someone who lives near Washington Square Park, I've enjoyed many of the nearby cafés, tiny eateries, bakeries and restaurants. This map points to places that range from very expensive to everyday fare. While finances don't allow frequent visits to the high end places like Blue Hill, Il Mulino, Cru, or Babbo, they come highly recommended. I'm trying to keep this list confined to a few blocks from the park. Still, I am tempted to add places just a block or two farther away - Jane's on Houston, for example. Lupa, on Thompson Street near Houston, is consistently excellent. I regularly visit Marumi for

10,000 Steps: The New York City Version

When I bought a new pedometer last Saturday I decided to try out the 10,000 step daily walking regime. The premise is that most people do not walk enough - mostly from the couch to the kitchen and from the front door to the car, a distance far short of the recommended daily amount of exercise. Seriously, many people will find that they walk 3,000 or so steps just in the course of a daily routine, but a greater effort is required for optimal health. Carrying around a pedometer, I'm finding that more exertion is needed than just my usual 30 minute walk and the cumulative pacing around the house. I need to take an additional walk to make up the deficit. Websites that discuss the 10,000 steps typically offer what they term as "creative" ideas to add these extra steps in the day, recommendations such as "use the stairs, walk your dog, or park the car far away from the store." These ideas don't work for me - I walk the dogs plenty enough, I don't have a car,

The 20 Coats I Need in New York

One of the most fascinating articles I read last month reported on the correlation between global warming and the fashion industry . With temperatures rising, the arrival of fall doesn't automatically signal a return to wearing fall fashion. Clothing companies like Liz Claiborne have hired climatologists to help decide when to ship out fall clothes. I find this fascinating and scary. During the fluctuations of weather this winter season in New York - flurries one day, the high 60s the next week, and the following week a mixture or rain and snow, I have changed into twenty or so different coats. Last week I sported my extreme weather parka, the one I bought when we lived in Wisconsin, and for the chillier and dry days on the weekend I switched into lighter, full-length vintage coats. Yesterday, on a warm day, I made do with my mother's black suede Eisenhower jacket. When I lived in the South, I just needed one coat for winter days. I sometimes needed a short jacket for chilly w

A Nice Afternoon in New York, Never Mind the Park

The historic Washington Square Park in currently undergoing a major renovation, and access to the fountain and other sections of the park is restricted. For many of us who live near the park, we'll still go there on a nice afternoon and sit on any available park bench, no matter wha t. Images: Washington Square Park, January 8, 2008.

Museums As Gyms, Part One: The Met

For the first of my Museums as Gyms series, I must say that the Met, as a fitness center, sets a high bar. This Fifth Avenue art palace features miles of walkable areas, a challenge for even the most athletic of cultural tourists. Walking is stimulating all by itself, and here at the Met, there's also too much to see. When I was visiting the other day, I overheard several discussions in the Met's cafeteria about whether it was wise to see "just one more exhibit" or move on. I was taking a break myself, scooping out a cup of yogurt and wondering if my strategy of trying to walk through all the Met was completely stupid. "Yes," I told myself, "Art history cannot be compressed in an hour and a half. You are a superficial person. This is idiotic." But I pressed on for another 30 minutes. According to my pedometer, I clocked 5,500 steps inside the Met, a little over 2.5 miles. In the process I scanned some of the most iconic images of creative human hi

The Long Bright Shadows Along Broadway

I walked south on Broadway this afternoon, enjoying the bright, almost blinding afternoon light on an unseasonably warm January day. I stopped at J & R on Park Row to buy a pedometer, and then I went to a coffee shop to drink a skinny latte and read the directions. Afterwards I decided to continue walking south along Broadway, stopping for a minute on Wall Street to check today's markets. It wasn't a bad day for trading. I proceeded down to Bowling Green, sat for a minute or two on a bench to bask in these long shadows, and then I took the subway home. Weather like this is a rare treat, and I was heartened to see so many New Yorkers out enjoying themselves. Tomorrow promises more of the same warm weather.

Measuring Miles in Manhattan

• Read the more recent comprehensive post, From Penn Station to New York Landmarks: Measuring Walking Distance and Time in Manhattan . View Larger Map Walking 20 blocks uptown or downtown in Manhattan is equivalent to one mile. An example then would be that a walk up 5th Ave. from 8th Street to 28th St. would be a mile and from 8th St. to 48th Street would be two miles. This comes in handy when assessing distances. A fast walk is a 15-minute mile, so if every single crosswalk light is in one's favor, then a walk from 8th St. to 48th. should take 30 minutes. It usually takes me closer to 40-45 minutes. Rational measurement does not work for most of lower Manhattan. This is especially true for the West Village, a bohemian labyrinth. I have seen visitors, drunk on sugary cupcake frosting, walking the wrong direction on Bleecker Street. I just let them walk off their cupcakes.

Museums As Gyms: A New Art & Exercise Series From Walking Off the Big Apple

Readers of Walking Off the Big Apple know I like to combine walking and looking at art. They also know I don't like going to the gym and staring at myself in the mirror while walking absolutely nowhere. When I compiled the list of forthcoming museum exhibitions the other day, I began to think of the physical effort that seeing these exhibitions would require. Visiting the Met alone, I thought to myself, involves walking through miles of galleries and courtyards and ascending and descending stairs. When I walked around the New Museum last month, I immediately noticed the potential value of the museum's narrow staircase as a stairmaster . All the museums, in fact, afford excellent opportunities for exercise. The Guggenheim has that lovely circular ramp, and MoMA's stairs are preferable to the department store escalators. I have decided, accordingly, to introduce the WOTBA Museum As Gym series. In this series I will evaluate New York's major museums (including the Am

Two-Mile Walks, Mostly in Manhattan

• THE HARBOR: Walk south on Broadway to Battery Park, passing by City Hall Park, the Woolworth Building, Trinity Church, and the Customs House (Museum of the American Indian). Stop for a minute in the small Bowling Green Park. • THE BRIDGE: From City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to Cadman Plaza, visit Brooklyn's World War II Memorial and then walk over to Henry St. Wander around Brooklyn Heights for the second mile. Or start in Brooklyn Heights and walk over to Manhattan. The walk feels like it has a solid beginning, middle, and end, and the views are spectacular. Henry Street has several nice small cafés. • THE VILLAGE: From the Arch in Washington Square Park, walk north along Fifth Avenue and turn west on 11th St., cross Sixth and Seventh Avenues, keep on W. 11 to the Hudson River. Return to the park via Barrow Street (a few blocks south) and Washington Place. • THE CATHEDRAL: Begin at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Riverside Park and

Walking Off Winter Weight with Walking Off the Big Apple

I'm bored by the weight loss and fitness stories we're forced to read at this time of year. Exercise more, eat less, park your car at the far end of the parking lot, take the stairs, drink more water, la la la la la. Look at pictures of people in the gym in sweatshirts. Boring. So boring, I think I'll go see what's in the refrigerator and go back to sleep. These preachy features often joylessly separate mind from body and tend to favor the goal over the process. They suck all the fun out of life. Walk for 30 minutes, yes, but where am I going and what will I see along the way? Where do I want to go, and what's the scenic route? Do I feel like walking in a park today or strolling along an avenue? What do I want to "walk off' (emotional and mental, in addition to baked goods with icing)? Here's the deal. I want to lose 1.5 pounds per week between now and the vernal equinox on March 20, but I have to make the weight loss a happy incidental by-product of a