25 July 2004
4:37 pm to 5:37 pm
Ending point: Front Street between Gouverneur Lane and Wall Street
Latitude/longitude: 40:42:17.204N / 74:00:24.610W
Distance from home: 0.2271 miles
Literature received: Flashdancers Gentlemen’s Club (“75 Gorgeous Entertainers Daily”), Domino’s Pizza (“More choices, more quality, more service”), Domino’s Pizza (again), Falun Dafa Reader (“Recent Health Surveys Testify to Falun Gong’s Health Benefits”), J&R Music World (“Prices for many items in this flyer are actually lower than the prices indicated”), Falun Dafa Reader (again), J&R Music World (again)
Coin: Rhode Island quarter (2001 P)
On a busy Thursday afternoon, people were getting out of work and striding down the sidewalks with extra purpose, like they were delivering the MacGuffin in a major feature film.
I headed right on Broadway (three times in a row!), looped back quickly to John and Broadway, and then headed along the northern perimeter of the World Trade Center. As I headed west, I savored the idea that I might be heading for Battery Park, to walk by the water and breath in the cool air, but a sudden turn took me north instead. I was quickly discovering that these walks were an exercise in having my plans snatched away from me. As I walked along the edge of a mass grave, that sensation felt macabre rather than enlightening.
I headed east to City Hall Park, did a loop around the park, and went careening west again before I came back east and wandered around City Hall Park some more. I passed by a man talking to a necktie in his hand, and hoped the tie covered a cell phone.
Finally squirted out of the park, I found myself walking underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in the shade, and past the wonderfully named Drumgoole. And then I was kickin’ down the cobblestones; after 44 minutes, I arrived at the corner of Peck Slip and Water Street where I ended my first walk. For one absurd moment, I felt more efficient, by a margin of exactly sixteen minutes.
I did a few more loops and headed south. And then magically, impossibly, I was crossing the street onto the South Street Seaport: I could see the water and feel a gentle breeze. A band was doing a soundcheck, an instrumental version of the Easybeats’ “Friday on My Mind.” I wanted to walk around in circles by the water forever, listening to the music and looking at Brooklyn across the river. Instead, I strolled south on the water’s edge, and when I got to Wall Street, I turned inland and ended on a quiet, shady block.