Sunday, April 20, 2008


There are a few things I consider to be quintessentially "New York." One being walking. My best times in New York were never standing amidst tourists in Times Square or packed into an overflowing theater watching a Broadway show that's been running ten years too long.

Walking was my passion- from the moment I moved to New York until the day I left. And now, when I come back...even before I let anyone know that I've arrived- I walk. I reacquaint myself with the city- as if its an old friend. I say hello to the many corners I know well and I introduce myself to the new establishments...promising that I'll be seeing them again.

I know of many individuals who feel trapped by the concrete jungle that is NY- they feel claustrophobic.
I, on the other hand, feel free- as if I could walk forever.

During my first period in NY, Dana came into my life and shared my love of walking. We would meet up after work- and walk wherever the streets took us. Sometimes we would walk to the river- other times over the bridges and out of Manhattan. We would walk from downtown to uptown and East side to West. We would stop for dinner if our feet got tired, or we would just keep going, as if we had all the time in the world. And during our walks, nothing else mattered- not work, or relationships, or the fact that the rent was overdue. New York took us into the crooks of its arms and we swayed with it. I haven't yet found another city in the world that welcomes the clicking of feet on it's pavement- walking.

On my 25th birthday, Dana gave me a collection of Thoreau. One piece, aptly chosen, was "Walking."

From Henry David Thoreau, Walking;

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understands the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks, who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering; which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the middle ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going a la sainte terre"-- to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a sainte- terrer," a saunterer- a holy-lander. They who never go to the holy land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds, but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all, but the Saunterer, in the god sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course of the sea. But I prefer the first, which indeed is the most probably derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit in us, to go forth and reconquer this holy land from the hands of the Infidels.

I love New York. I love Thoreau.

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