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Walks to Remember

January 26, 2007

I think one of the things that I dislike most about winter in the city is my loss of walking time. Guests always comment on how much walking they do when visiting here, but my feet are so used to it, I’m rarely that tired if I’m following them around all day. I think part of the reason the guests are so tired is also because of the amount of visual stimuli while walking around the city. People living here are used to it, so our mind shuts out a lot, but I love to walk around the city on the weekends and take it all in. I love to let my eyes soak it up, and find interesting and exciting discoveries while I’m walking around. The city is small in terms of land size (especially Manhattan), but so much is squeezed into this tiny island, that you can go by an area hundreds of times, and then suddenly notice something one day that you didn’t notice before.

I remember the time that Mexpat and I discovered the South Street Seaport. This is a highly touristy area, and yet somehow it had escaped our knowledge. She and I were jogging along the water, back when we lived in Chinatown/L.E.S. Up to that point, we had mostly ran to the underside of the Brooklyn Bridge, and then came back, but one afternoon we decided to go further. Suddenly we found ourselves right in the middle of 19th century New York, complete with a huge sailing ship! It was fantastic. It was first time, living in New York, that I felt a bit familiarity, because the area reminded me of Old Montreal in a way. With all the tourists milling around, the place was alive amid the old buildings, and quaint shops (so long as you didn’t notice names like Abercrombie). The smell of the river mixed with the sights of the ship and cobblestone streets made a delightful mixture of historical magic. You could almost forget that the people around were wearing modern clothes and imagine it was 150 years past. Mexpat and I were memorized enough to stop our run and take in the sites.

We went walking around the area in our track pants and sports bras, obvious in a crowd of shorts and polo’s. We deftly navigated the uneven streets in our sneakers. Together she and I discovered a museum which we couldn’t go in, because neither one of had any money. We window shopped at a few stores, and looked in on some interesting restaurants. It was a great afternoon, and didn’t cost us a dime. After we were done, we jogged back home, running under the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and back into Chinatown.

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