A Random Walk in New York

I've been in New York City for the last few days for work.  I typically fly in and out of Newark because the logistics are easiest getting to and from Manhattan.  Flights from Newark to San Francisco on United run at 6 am and 6 pm.  That's a tough one...I think I'll stay in NYC for the day, get some sleep, spend some time exploring, and then get to the airport in time for the evening flight.  That said, I spent a very sunny but icy cold day walking around New York.  Good thing I came prepared with my long underwear and bright red parka.  I was quite a sight considering that most New Yorkers put fashion before warmth.




I started out by walking to Ess-A Bagel for a true New York breakfast -- a steaming hot bagel.  Ess-A's is renowned as the best in New York.  Along the way, I saw a lovesick pink elephant lying on the sidewalk in front of Olde Good Things.

It seems that the colder it is, the clearer and sunnier it gets in New York City.  I saw some cool reflections of architecture in the windows of parked cars.


I saw the Baby New Year...

At last I arrived at my first destination.  Ess-A Bagel!


 

After devouring my piping hot bagel, I didn't have specific plans so so I decided to play a little game and see where I'd end up.  Here are the rules:

1. Walk straight until the traffic lights dictate otherwise.
2. Follow any "walk" signs.
3. If all directions indicate "don't walk", turn and continue along the sidewalk. 

Here's the route that I took:


View A Random Walk in NYC in a larger map

I made a right turn out of Ess-A Bagel and was on my way!  Here are some things that I saw along the route of my frigid Sidewalk Safari.  A stern bust...



...A Farmers' Market in Union Square Park.  New Yorkers are hearty people.  I can't imagine standing outside to sell my wares all day in the middle of winter.

 

This truck was collecting compost.  Now I realize how lucky we are in San Francisco to have our compost picked up at home with the trash and recycling.

 


I saw a Great Dane and his owner buying cheese...

Gingerbread Boys and Girls (not to mention Apple Cider Donuts!)...


Lambs' wool yarn...

Continuing on from the Farmers' Market into Greenwich Village, I saw this London-style taxi parked outside a building on 5th Avenue -- it somehow seemed perfectly in tune with the surroundings.


The sun-washed brownstone homes made me smile.



I saw Ansonia Pharmacy doubling as an art gallery.



At this point, I was feeling really cold.  I could have used one of these fur lined hats complete with ear flaps.


 
My walking game led me to Le Petit Puppy.  There were a ton of cute, cuddly pups mugging in the window hoping for someone to take them home. 

 

Since I was meandering quite a bit on this walk, I decided to take pictures of some of the different intersections I passed so that I could reconstruct my route in Google Maps later.  Here I am at the corner of Christopher and Gay St.

Most intersections in New York City are governed by traffic lights so Rules 1-3 were generally sufficient for my walk.  Not so in Greenwich Village...  In a couple instances, I ran into intersections where my rules didn't dictate which way to go.  Fortunately, at this intersection, I just followed the "All Traffic" sign and continued on my way. 

I got a chuckle when I passed Jekyll and Hyde - Restaurant and Social Club for Explorers and Mad Scientists.  I feel like a little bit of both :-) Alas, I wasn't hungry just yet and kept walking.


9th Avenue south of 14th St. is comprised of uneven cobblestones -- very charming.


I ran into some life-like street art nearby...


This oasis at the intersection of several blocks is largely un-utilized in winter.



I also saw New York's oldest Steakhouse.  The Old Homestead claims to be the "King of Beef". 


Back in familiar territory, I decided to end my random walk with lunch at Stella's Pizza.

 
I decided to add one more purposeful destination to my walk before heading to the airport.  Idlewild Books is my absolute favorite bookstore in New York City.  It's a travel themed shop and they always have something incredibly interesting to read that you won't find elsewhere.  I bought Rumspringa and The Snow Tourist.

I love old brick buildings with old fashioned painted signage.  Here I saw an ad for Griffon Shears - Nail Files, Tweezers, Snippers, and Manicure Sets. I wonder how many years ago that advertisement was put into action.

I saw these martial arts experts painted onto the door next to Idlewild.


I happily browsed and thawed for about 30 minutes before heading back to my hotel to pick up my bags and get to the airport.  Overall, I covered 6.4 miles -- not bad considering it was so cold.  It pays to come prepared for cold weather.

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Sidewalk Safari: A Random Walk in New York
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