Tag Archives: bryant park

The Art of Walking

  • I was going to write a post about

    this book

    but then I got lazy.

  • So now I’m going to write about walking. Because that’s what I did this morning to get to work. And it was a fantastic sunny morning.
  • I just did a Google search of this post’s title and I found

    this book

    which apparently is only okay (according to the Amazon ratings).

  • But since I’d been mulling over the idea of writing about the former subject for today and had only switched topics about ten minutes before sitting down at my desk, I kind don’t really have much planned. So here we go.

Manhattanites, both residing and working, have a reputation for being some of the fastest walkers on the planet.  It’s so bad (or good, depending on who you are) that there’s a section of sidewalk somewhere dedicated to the idea.

I quickly raise the guilty hand on this issue.  When I’m at college and walking with my friends, I find myself having to slow down every five steps so that I can stay in pace with them.  Manhattan walking is best done alone, and with a scowl on your face.

But I kind of want to change that. First of all, this is a walk truly found only on people who want to look busy/important, and all self-humbling attempts aside, all the truly busy/important people probably aren’t walking down a busy street anyway. I’m not saying slow it down (we’ll never get anywhere), but maybe we should ease up on the hostile front.

Take today.  It was a bloody fantastic morning.  The sun was filtering through the trees in Bryant Park where white people were “doing” tai chi, specks of light bouncing off the layers of humid atmosphere (baahh I usually don’t romanticize humidity like this. I’ve always hated it.  But it can make a pretty picture.) and hitting the sides of million-story buildings like….like….like [heartbreaking simile].

I know people have places to go. But we kind of need to look around and realize how amazing the morning grind can look sometimes.

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Communicating with the Future

Last night I was sitting in Bryant Park reading some books I picked up at the library for the weekend. It was around 7:30, and at one point I looked up and realized how freaking beautiful everything was.  Sometimes I knock on modern and contemporary office architecture for being kind of boringly all glass siding and predictability (except for the Bank of America tower by Cook+Fox, ever since I made the connection between its Discovery Channel special and the hunk of construction I used to walk by as a teenager. In any case, it’s completed now and very, very beautiful.

Anyway, the view from my chair was almost exactly the same as the view of the above picture I stole from the innernet. Looking around and taking in the way reflections off this tower and its surrounded glass-faced rectangular towers played with each other, it all felt kind of movie-like to me. Within a greater diameter of the few adjacent blocks were buildings from other eras of the past century, some made out of combinations of concrete, some concrete white and others stark grey and some almost brown.  Of course, then you have the Schwarzman Building directly behind, and then there’s…gaaah this park can’t not be beautiful.

So the sun hadn’t set yet and I’m looking at these buildings and this park and the people (workers/tourists/lovers/crazy people) around me. See, whenever I see something, be it a work of contemporary engineering like the future PATH station at the World Trade Center, or the iPad, that reminds me of how it’s like, the future, I tend to imagine people from the past marveling at our technological and aesthetic advancements. Then I realize they can’t do that because they’re either still alive and not as impressed or already dead.

Along with that slight dip in my sense of hope came a resolution to speak with my future self.  There are many interpretations of the idea of “Communication”, and all of them are culturally subjective. Uggh, there’s this one word I’m looking for, but I can’t remember it. It’s like…”the specific act of declaring something intangible but culturally significant into existence through verbal action”. Like when you say “I promise”, the very act of saying “I promise” wills the promise into existence.

Whatever the fancy word for that idea is, it’s what I did in Bryant Park last night.  It probably sounds completely nerdy, but I “declared communication” with my 50-year-old self at this time of the year 30 years from now.  I made a mental note that at that moment, I was in direct dialogue with myself, but 30 years apart. Now all I have to do is acknowledge that communication when I’m 50 and trans-time communication will have been established!

I dunno, I guess I was feeling a little “romantic”. The buildings moved me. Here they are, in an almost permanent dialogue with each other, each from different eras. But in essence, they’re part of the same “space”.  Maybe that’s what I was going for. We’ll just have to wait and see if I turn 50 and remember I ever sent myself such a message.