17 January 2005
3:24 pm to 4:24 pm
Ending point: corner of Beekman Street and Front Street
Distance from home: 0.5764 miles
Literature received: J&R (“New York’s largest & top rated discount home entertainment & computer mega store”)
Coin: 1983 P quarter
On a cold cold day, I found myself walking at twice my normal pace, as if I could outrun the freezing temperature. I started by flipping five heads in a row–as I went around the block, I passed by a couple arguing in an Eastern European language.
I wandered around east of Broadway. I passed by the Jubilee supermarket, which had small displays of food in their windows, with dramatic lighting and purple fabric. This presentation worked well with fresh produce and seemed kind of silly with protein bars.
I kept wiggling east until I ended up by the Peck Slip post office, an ever-popular location for me. The intense cold meant that the city felt transformed and depopulated. People weren’t walking around bundled up; they were staying inside. I looped around and headed halfway home, then turned around and headed right back for Peck Slip.
A young black man with a French-African accent asked me where Pier 17 was. I didn’t remember that was another name for the South Street Seaport, but I pointed him in the right direction anyway. I continued on to the water–not a desirable destination in this weather–and then down past the stinky fish markets to the Seaport, flipping seven tails in a row that sent me right back to the Seaport. I passed by a Chinese couple with two enormous carts, piled high with bags of empty cans and bottles. It looked like they had made the ad-hoc trash-picking of many homeless people into a professional endeavor.
When I got to the Seaport, I proceeded to flip heads eleven times in a row. I walked around the perimeter three times, passing the glittering shops inside in favor of the hard steel water and the view of three bridges. As I flipped a coin that would have sent me on yet another loop, a passerby shouted “Heads!” That seemed to break the chain–it was tails, I told him, and walked away from the water.