4 August 2004
2:41 pm to 3:41 pm
Ending point: above the corner of West Street and Vesey Street, standing on the west side of the pedestrian bridge
Distance from home: 0.2438 miles
Literature received: The Essennces [sic] Beauty Salon (“We use ‘Alter Ego Products’ The best hair products in the business!”)
Coin: 1996 P quarter
I left the house with a fistful of bills to be mailed, an errand that would typically take me two minutes. When I surrendered to the vagaries of chance, it took nine minutes–unneeded proof that flipwalking is not the most efficient way possible of getting things done.
Walking around in circles in the financial district, I spotted a cluster of six cops having an intent conversation outside the Federal Reserve Bank–some new threat to national security? As I walked by, I heard one of them say, “They got a beautiful cafeteria upstairs.”
After wandering around in lower Manhattan (and coming nowhere near City Hall Park, for once), I passed along the south side of the World Trade Center site, doglegging further west and south progressively. The sun had fixed its burning gaze on the city, so I tried to stay in the shade, never more grateful for the tall steel buildings that block out the sky.
I kept going west, reaching Battery Park City, which evoked old humiliations at the hands of the Red Cross–I lined up for hours at a help center they had set up in the BPC, only to be told that my paperwork wasn’t in order. Finally, I made it to the Esplanade, and was grateful to take a turn leading me away from the Mercantile Exchange, not wanting to argue with their security guards. In this mellow riverside park, there were green leaves, an ignored hose spurting out water, and pregnant women resting on benches. I headed back east, and then my time ran out.