29 August 2004
5:32 pm to 6:32 pm
Ending point: 630 Water Street, by Gouverneur Gardens
Distance from home: 1.5417 miles
Literature received: IN-XS Wireless (“Many other rate plans available!”)
Coin: 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar coin (P)
In the middle of the Republican National Convention, I wasn’t eager to have any kind of run-in with the police, who were busying themselves locking up protestors. Thankfully, my route didn’t take me near the World Trade Center–I wandered around east of my apartment for a while. A man walked down Fulton Street chewing on a fried chicken drumstick. An aged Chinese man was on a streetcorner, laboring over one of his paintings with the assistance of a magnifying glass. One of his other works was for sale beside him, with a price tag of two thousand dollars. In the window of the store “Designer Promise,” somebody was undressing a mannequin, which somehow seemed dirty.
I headed down underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and walked north. Around the Manhattan Bridge, I cut over to the walkway by the East River and continued by the water for a long time, getting improbably further and further from home, and cutting into the projects one block away just as time ran out. I sat on a bench for a while, and then went home to make some macaroni and cheese.
The day after getting some bad news, I was moody and sad, and chance seemed particularly brutal. As I went further away from home, the city felt ugly and confining. The whole world seemed surrounded by chain-link fence: the trees, the people in the housing projects, the playgrounds. Strollers for infants and wheelchairs for the aged: they both looked like mobile cages. When I was walking underneath the FDR Drive, the cars rattled over me, ominous but strangely remote.