9 October 2004
4:22 pm to 5:22 pm
Ending point: the corner of Fulton Street and Water Street
Distance from home: 0.2076 miles
Literature received: Terra Chips bag (“Terra Chips is proudly defined by a tradition of premium quality chips”), Flashdancers (“Champagne/V.I.P. rooms”), Terra Kettles bag (“Each batch of Terra Krinkle cut Kettle Blends begins with a tantalizing trio of premium, delicious potatoes: White, Russet & Blue Potatoes”)
Coin: 1998 1G Netherlands coin
When I stepped out my front door, New York’s permanent floating street fair had touched down on my block. People were selling clothes, handbags, and psychic readings. At a single food stand, one could choose from Italian sausage, cheesesteak, or BBQ.
It was warm in the sun but cold in the shade, so I found myself accelerating my pace on the side streets, hoping to return to the sunshine. I walked around in circles centered on Broadway, drifting downtown, weaving in and out of the street fair. The New York Post was offering subscriptions; its hawker had a megaphone. Somebody advertised themselves as the King of Candy Apples, and I speculated idly about his kingdom and royal family.
A vent on the sidewalk was spewing out foam. I puzzled over it for a moment before realizing it had to be overflow from a basement laundry.
After 47 minutes, I passed by my front door again, not having gotten very far at all. If you walked down the center of Broadway, you were surrounded by tacky commerce; if you stuck to the sidewalks, you had the illusion of being backstage at the street fair. Before I veered east, I saw a fruit-smoothie salesman committing treason to his vegetarian cause, happily munching on a shishkabob.