25 July 2004
6:56 pm to 7:56 pm
Total intersections: 89
23 Chatham Square (aka Kimlau Square)
Latitude/longitude: 40:42:50.306N / 73:59:51.068W
Distance from home: 0.7550 miles
Literature received: none
Coin: Louisiana Purchase nickel (2004 P)
On a summer Sunday evening, the city was made of nothing but playgrounds and basketball courts. I started off heading north up Broadway again, taking another right turn onto Park Row. This time, I turned slightly earlier, heading for the water by way of the Southbridge Towers projects (the first of many housing projects I would wander through). I then headed north, under the Brooklyn Bridge, and just kept heading north.
I flipped the coin high in the air, and it caught the eye of a kid, about twelve years old, crossing the street in the other direction, dribbling a basketball. “Hey, heads, right?” he shouted at me.
“It was tails,” I told him.
“Awww,” he said. The Smith housing projects had a great piece of public art I never knew about called “Orbital Connector”: a giant titanium arrow piercing a globe of the world. I kept walking–I always keep walking–and passed by a guy selling stuff on the sidewalk, including a half-empty bottle of aftershave gel.
I continued north, staying about one block away from the East River. I passed the outskirts of Chinatown and was soon across the street from Pathmark, at which point I doglegged and kept going north (to the LaGuardia projects, including the Little Flower playground). At LaGuardia, I went around in circles for a while, and overheard an earnest hipster saying “Imagine romanticizing cocaine so much that you call your album Parallel Lines.”
A U-turn led me back south; I passed by a laundromat, where “Careless Whisper” played, a Latino girl shouted “Give me my fucking money,” and two boys played keepaway. I ended up at an insanely complicated intersection at the center of Chinatown. As I tried to calculate how to flip the right number of coins for all the branching roads, my time ran out.
When I walked home, I thought it was pleasant to be exercising free will, but a little boring, since the choices I made were to go in direct a path as possible.