10 September 2004
11:55 am to 12:55 pm
Ending point: the corner of Hudson Street and Beach Street
Distance from home: 0.9101 miles
Literature received: Amazing Savings Stores (“Now Opening 86 Locations”), Rahme “Discount Jewelry” (“50% Off Everything”)
Coin: 1980 Canadian nickel (beaver on obverse)
I began my walk by circumnavigating much of the site of the World Trade Center, staying as close as possible to the chain-link fences that surround it. First I walked along the entire north side, which is a narrow walkway shared by commuters, tourists, and residents buying bagels. On this day, as I crossed the pedestrian walkway over West Street, there were crowds of people on the staircases, holding hands, pushing strollers, all staring at the construction equipment in the pit and taking photographs. One person was on rollerblades. They were all looking at something that wasn’t there.
I veered over to the Battery Park City waterfront, where lots of folding chairs were set up for a memorial service the following day–I hadn’t even realized the date, which is comforting in its own way. Nearby was a fleet of small boats docked by a yachting school, each with a fluttering banner bearing the logo of a different Conde Nast magazine: Gourmet, Vanity Fair, Modern Bride.
My path took me north; I passed by the Fountain Pen Hospital. I circled around onto Broadway, where a young woman was sullenly selling bubblemakers with plastic elephant heads. A pastry shop advertised, “Come spurlge!” The coin took me steadily north, into Tribeca. A mailman was eating a spinach fritter next to an Indian restaurant. I stopped just shy of a major intersection, and stood for a while, watching the endless flow of cars arriving in New York City.