508 Miles: all too short
The first moment you smell fall in the air is a gut punch. When the sky shifts slowly and then all at once to that dark, crisp blue breaking the back of the seemingly never ending August that somehow eats most of September.
August is a blur in the city. A stinky, hot, and sweltering ghost town of those not rich or well connected enough to be elsewhere. The feeling doesn’t seem to taper through September until that unexpected day you wake up surrounded by a pile of Ricola lozenge wrappers and the air outside smells sweet, and soft, and vaguely sad. The end of the summer has been coming all along but for some reason here it is, collapsing, all at once.
I wandered through West Village as a thousand NYU students stumbled around trying on new costumes. Some in sweaters, layers, and fancy new coats, others still holding onto the dying season in shorts and linen. I’ve always thought the first weeks of college to be about a constant process of trying on costumes that don’t exactly fit. Fall, too, is about trying. Fall is about the hope of one last thing before the year gets colder and darker and slams to its finish.
I spent this week down with the same funk that hits every fall. The head inflated, itchy throat, dry coughing kind of ick that reminds you no matter what lies summer may tell you— nothing can stay beautiful and healthy forever. The stubborn hope that you can hold onto the sun blushed skin and 9pm sunsets, but of course you can’t. You can’t hold on, the only way back is through.
Day 8: Sunday, September 25, 2022
4.69 miles. 59 degrees, cold, rainy, drab
Starting in Gramercy Park before heading south to Union Square for the Green Market (not open on Sundays, come to find out), abandoning that plan to head north up Park, pit-stopping for perfectly average brunch at l'express, before hoping over to Broadway to trace up to 25th and barreling due east to the perennially great Printed Matter (if you are in the city for 24 hours, and have to go to one bookstore, I strongly believe this is the one) before returning home along 26th. These streets are vast and empty, the west side is less built up than I could ever imagine.
Day 10: Tue, September 27, 2022
3.75 miles. 55 degrees, dusk.
Starting in Gramercy Park before headed east across W22nd, and then hopping down to W21, and again down to W19, before finally making it to 9th Ave, and tracing down through some of the most beautiful streets imaginable, finishing at the Otheroom to race through a bottle of chardonnay in the literal shadow of Steve Cohen’s West Village Kaaba, and then stumbling home along Perry Street, up to 12th, and back to the park on 13th.
Day 13: Friday, September 30, 2022
4.89 miles. 61 degrees, cold, bitter, and lovely.
Leaving from Gramercy Park heading south down 19th before heading east on east 18th along the loviest stretch of low rise garage conversions in the city before getting lost on 10th Ave trying to find an entrance to the Highline, then completing the Highline (which seems almost Singapori in the sheer amount of state capacity it took to build this weird thing, until you walk along it and realize how oddly janky the whole thing is, returning you firmly to 2008 America) before deadending into Hudson Yards (the approach to which is only confirmation that the entire construction is satanic worship, capturing you in a cursed walk as the Vessel* peaks in and out of buildings, hunting you), before quickly escaping to scramble across the oddly hilly Midtown West to Penn Station, down 7th, carrying home across the park.
Day 14: Saturday, Oct 1, 2022
5.25 miles. 55 with the constant feel that it’s about to start raining but it never does
Starting on Spring after a stomach turning uber ride, heading west along Spring fleeing from the kind of Everlane shopping experience that reminds you that living in this city is a full contact sport no matter if you try to forget it, before stumbling along Bowery to the new Rowing Blazers Clubhouse, back north into NOHO for the JCrew Mens Popup (still excellent), then headed south through the core of abyss of stores that can only be described as supervillain-global-homogenization-Davos chic (clothes seemingly only appropriate to wear when dividing up continents) and the remarkable Elizabeth Street Garden where two men in overalls sold a well curated merch collection that promised to save the park from being turned into affordable housing before continuing down to aspirationally view the Double RL, and a smidge of Canal street (fake Dior totes, it seems, remain the flavor of the season) almost getting pick-pocketed by an extremely well dressed man, and then headed home in an Uber once the rain finally started.
Weekly Stats: 14.63 miles, 4 hours walking
Progress: ~1.56% of Manhattan complete (thanks CityStrides)
Reflections: Last week’s progress % was overly optimistic but overall feeling good. Working milage up to my old highs (10-15 mile days) may not be possible in this new world, and that’s ok.
*For editorial reasons, I’ve chosen not to include photos of the Vessel in this post. It is one of the most evil creations of the last decade. Its destruction should be our number one priority. Thomas Heatherwick should be tried at Hague, and is a clear and present threat to our values and survival.
minutes is about slowly walking all of nyc. it would mean the world if you followed along.