Sunday, December 18, 2005

If it's Sunday, then I must be walking ...

The sight that greets me every time I walk into Manhattan: The George Washington Bridge, completed in 1931, the busiest bridge in the world (you could look it up!).

Gruff but gentle.

A friend I met in some hole in the wall.

The GWB, yet again.

This and the following two photos show ruins of piers along the New York bank of the Hudson River. The piers carried railroad tracks on which train cars offloaded their goods onto waiting barges, which carried them upriver or downriver. I don't know exactly how old these ruins are, but they're very old and have been declared a historic site.

Heading across the River Styx to the underworld. Actually, this is the pedestrian path across the Manhattan Bridge over the East River, which links Manhattan and Brooklyn.

More Manhattan Bridge. My isolation was exquisite, but a little spooky.

Another beautiful Sunday, another excellent walk into Manhattan.
This time, though, I walked clear south and east to Brooklyn, the City of Churches, one of the Five Boros of Manhattan and the fourth (or is it now fifth?) largest city in the United States in its own right.
If you read my blog entry for last Sunday, then you know the route I take into Manhattan and down to my friend's Japanese restaurant at First Avenue and St. Mark's Place in the East Village.
The only difference today was that I walked south down, down into Chinatown, past Houston Street, and Delancey and Broome and Hester streets, past the ghosts of generations of Jewish families whose first stake in the New World was right here on the Lower East Side, down to Canal Street and across the East River over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.
I got to the Manhattan Bridge (which is overshadowed, and unfairly so, by its close neighbor, da Brooklyn Bridge) at about 6 p.m. Darkness had long since fallen. I had the bridge all to myself the whole way to Brooklyn. Heading back to Manhattan, four phantom cyclists rode out of the night and zoomed past, the only other traffic on the pedestrian path.
I covered a total distance of about 17 miles on foot today. I finished with energy to spare and was only a bit footsore.
Not a bad day's work.


Kelvin said...

Kia Ora (Hello) from a krazy blogger. I enjoyed my walk across the bridge, but now I am lost !!! Can you give me directions back to New Zealand please !!! I want to get home in time for Christmas.(hehe) Great blog - I'll be back. Merry Christmas.

Michael said...

Hello Kelvin, and thanks so much for stopping by!!
Ah, New Zealand: Paradise on Earth. A dear friend of mine lives in Wellington, and I'd love to visit her someday soon.
I'm very envious of you Kiwis, living amid such breathtaking natural splendor.
Thanks again for your comments!

Beth said...

michael, i LOVE your posts about your walks in nyc. i can't believe you walked 17 miles in the cold. we were at a friends saturday near riverside drive and the wind was whipping off of the river...we all ran from the car to the apt. i admire your endurance, because it seems like it was a beautiful day.

Michael said...

Thank you, Kim!
Yesterday was indeed a beautiful day, though, believe it or not, I actually found it a little on the mild side during the daylight part of my walk.
I'm going to a New Year's Eve party at a friend's, but if I behave myself, I hope to wake up early New Year's Day and take that same walk. My friend's restaurant in the East Village will be open, so the incentive certainly is there.

LBseahag said...

I get tears in my eyes every time i see photos of NYC...

your world around you is a great one :)

Michael said...

Greetings, LB,

Yes, I'm very lucky to live where I do, and for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the scenery.

Phats said...

These are nice pictures, I have never been to New York. I have been Boston but I don't think they are the same haha.

Jo said...

The scenery and walk both sound so beautiful. I am truly jealous of you today. :)

I get winded walking up and down the stairs in my house! LOL.

Thank you for sharing the photos. They are all breathtaking.

Michael said...

Thanks, Jo. I hope all is going well with you; I hadn't seen any new postings on your blog.

g said...

I like the first shot, of the GW# bridge and the images of the piers. Are you playing around with Photoshop yet.

I don't know if you ever thought about it, but when you are walking, there comes a time when you see something, and then you reach for the camera, right?

Think about that moment. Follow me here for a second.

Chances are, you are thinking it was the wall or the tree I saw that made me stop and take out the camera. And you might think it is important to "try to capture with the camera" the very item that your eyes just "saw" or "experienced"

Nothing wrong with that. But that moment is gone. Was gone when you lifted the camera.

There is another way.

First, understand that the urge to take out the camera is NOT a command to capture what your eyes just saw, but an invitation to enjoy the moment, and to LOOK AROUND AT THE WORLD through the eye of the camera.

Literally. Finding a place to stand, do a 360. If you see something interesting, get closer. Find the magic spot. There is magic available. THAT was what prompted you to take out the camera in the first place.

See what the camera sees, and open the shutter when you have made your eyes go blurry and still the image demands to be done. Or focus on a spot, and wait until the world moves into that moment.

You have a digital camera. You can "waste" many shots without spending a dime for film or processing. What a deal!

Michael said...

Hi g,

As always, many thanks for your comments. I've just started to play around with Photoshop, but my background as a journalist makes me not want to mess too much with a picture.
Sure, dodging and burning can do wonders, as any fan of Ansel Adams well knows. But when it comes to more intensive manipulation of an image, I'm not very keen on it.
That leads me to my second point: It's this same journalistic mindset that makes me disagree vigorously with your view that taking out one's camera isn't a command to capture what the eyes just saw. Rather, I think that this chronicling of the moment is the key (at least in certain circumstances).
As I wrote in a previous post, I collect antique "hard" images (daguerreotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes) and I'm so thankful that these image are, indeed, moments frozen in time. It gives me a link with the past that I can't really describe in words. I'm just happy this link exists.
Photographs shot as art, though, are another story, and I see your point there.
And yes, I agree with you totally about the freedom that digital cameras afford in terms of doing away with film processing costs, and giving us the latitude to experiment.

Mike Cross said...

Thought-provoking exchange. A word that is sometimes used in Alexander work is "unconcentrating." There is a correspondence in the martial arts with ISSHIN (concentrated mind) and ZANSHIN (unconcentrated mind). Maybe there is a middle way between the two, whereby the focus of attention is like a spotlight shining brightly on the center of a more dimly lit stage.
Plod on, Michael, plod on.

Michael said...

Hi Mike,

Good to hear from you!
I have no idea where I'm headed -- the signposts seem written in a foreign tongue -- but I suppose I'm getting there. Time will tell...

anu said...

Lovely pictures Michael. I loved your friend in the hole on the wall:)

17 miles gosh, Michael you are so inspiring :)

LBseahag said...

Hello, Michael-
I hope you aren't affected by the transportation strike! I saw it on the news...

Michael said...

Hello Anu,

Thanks! But inspiring? Truth is, after a bottle of beer and cup of sake at my friend's restaurant, walking becomes surprisingly easy.
And it also proves that I don't have enough sense to come in out of the cold.

Hey LB,

Fortunately, the strike has zero impact upon me, unless I need to get somewhere fast in Manhattan from my home in New Jersey.
I can actually walk to the hospital where I go for tests (and have done so), and that's really the only pressing business I have in the city.
Everything else is literally just a stroll in the park.
The strike is a disaster for New York City, though, which loses $400 million every day the buses and trains don't run.
I hope it's resolved soon.

Phats said...

Hope you have a great Holiday michael!

Michael said...

Many thanks, Phats, and here's wishing you and all my other blogosphere friends the very, very best for 2006!