5 December 2004
12:40 pm to 1:40 pm
Ending point: corner of Division Street and Pike Street
Distance from home: 2.6663 miles
Literature received: none
Coin: 1983 P quarter
“Ode to Billie Joe” was cycling through my head as I left the house. I headed east down John Street, left it for a ten minute loop-the-loop, returned to John Street going east, left for one more quick trip around the block, and finally rejoined John Street one last time, continuing east until I reached the South Street Seaport.
After fifteen minutes on the walk, I could see the first signs of Christmas: the Jubilee market had Christmas trees and wreaths for sale. Then, a half-block later, four young Asian-Americans were struggling to extract two fully loaded boxes of Christmas presents from the back seat of a battered maroon Toyota Corolla. The Seaport offered an enormous tree and an assault of terrible, overamplified Christmas music.
I kept walking north, strolling by the water, and then turned west, gazing up at the rusted undercarriage of the Brooklyn Bridge access ramps. I meandered into the Alfred E. Smith housing projects, and went around in circles there for quite a while. It was very quiet, and completely devoid of any hints of the holiday season. Outside one entrance to the projects, a young woman was selling bootleg Newport cigarettes; her stock was in a black plastic bag that she kept swinging back and forth, letting it hit against her leg. I continued north, through the market-day frenzy of Chinatown, leaving Christmas further and further behind.