My walk totally sucked tonight. I left work earlier than usual and treated myself to a soda at the Five Guys on Bleecker Street. As it turns out, they were plum out of Cherry Coke AND Diet Coke, so I had to get root beer instead. I tried to practice some coding, but I couldn’t get my mobile hotspot to connect, so I just sat at the little table by the window, staring out onto 7th Avenue, while the air conditioner dripped a mysterious air-conditiony liquid onto my collarbone. Trifling events, sure, but I was already visiting the doldrums, and these things only made it certain that I would be staying there for a while.
After a few minutes, I started walking, slowly, up 7th Avenue. I love 7th Avenue. Particularly in The Village. But, the lights from the sex shops seemed seedier and more fluorescent than usual, and the bars seemed less cozy and wonderful, and everything just felt off. I felt lonely and achey for something outside of Manhattan, and sometimes it feels as if everything outside of Manhattan is so far away it can never be reached again.
The original plan for the walk was to leave work, head to the West Side Highway, and then turn east to stroll the entire span of the island on an as-of-yet untrodden street. But, it quickly became clear to me that “strolling” was not a realistic expectation in my agenda for the evening, and so I settled for covering the portion of 21st Street that ran from 7th Avenue to 1st Avenue. Easy.
There were some nice things to see along the way. There was a lovely tree-lined view of the Chrysler Building at the corner of 21st and Lexington that was worth turning my head for, and there was the as-of-yet-unknown-to-me Peter Cooper Village in between 1st Avenue and Avenue C that appeared to house some professionals who must enjoy feeling they are still in college. I could totally be hip to that, but I wasn’t hip to much of anything in that moment, so I just curmudgeonly sauntered around the curvy walkways until I aimlessly dumped myself out onto Avenue C, my duty complete.
Walking was a duty tonight. And, I dutifully kept on, walking back to 5th Avenue via 22nd Street, sneaking in a few more blocks to mark off on the map. The night was overcast, and when I reached the Empire State Building, the clouds were swirling around its pinnacle and creating a hazy halo around the top. It was one of those commonplace New York sights that every resident has seen a few dozen times, but nobody cranes their neck for anymore. And yet, even commonplace New York moments are grand enough to wake you from your doldrums if you let them.
I am lucky to have the doldrums in a place like this.
Streets walked: Clarkson St. to Hudson St. to Leroy St. to 7th Ave. to 21st St. to 1st Ave. to 22nd St. through Peter Cooper Village to Avenue C to 23rd St. to 1st Ave. to 22nd St. to 5th Ave. to 118th St. to Home
Sights seen: Cloudy ESB