Today I felt like dreaming. I wanted to see something. This itch to create and generate ideas scratched away at my patience all day. So what did I do? I went for a walk. It lasted two hours. I do this three or four times a week, and I love it.
I walk past the New York Stock Exchange. The closing bell rang about an hour ago. I weave in and out of the businessmen and tourists like I have somewhere to be. But I don’t. Every time I pass by a guy wearing a suit I wonder whether he’s a big swinging dick on Wall Street. Or, is he just a waiter at the restaurants where the big swinging dicks eat?
Without slowing my pace, I venture up Broadway through the streets of Tribeca. I pass Bethenny Frankel’s condo building. That show is my guilty pleasure. After snapping a picture with my iPhone, I keep walking north to the cobblestone streets of Soho. I make my way down Spring Street, where I stalk all of the artsy, creative types. Everyone in that neighborhood is so stylish and cool. I’m not. I wonder what exactly they do. I wonder why they’re so different than me. Sometimes I’m jealous of them. Other times I pity them. But I feel pity for those who pity other people.
Once I get my Soho fix I hike a few minutes uptown to the West Village. At this point I’ve been walking for about thirty minutes. The West Village is notorious for being a hip, celebrity hang-out, but that’s not why I go. I like to see the dive bars. I often wish there was a bar somewhere that my buddies and I could call our own. A place where we could meet up after work and drink one dollar beers. The bartender would know our names and bring us the usual before we even asked. I like to watch the NYU students walk down the street. I wonder what they’re studying and what they’re passionate about. I want to be able to dream like them. That’s why I go on walks.
The next stop is Little Italy. Little Italy is small now, spanning only a couple of blocks. As I walk down Mulberry Street, I try to picture what it might have been like fifty or a hundred years ago. I pass by the old Umberto’s Clam House building where famous mobster, Joey Gallo, was gunned down. I wonder what it was like to be sitting at one of the nearby tables when he was shot? I pass by a small restaurant where a lot of the “sit downs” were filmed for The Sopranos, one of my all-time favorite TV shows. As I share the narrow sidewalk with hundreds of tourists, I start to feel like one myself.
One block over is Chinatown. When you’re there, it feels like you’re actually in China. The stench of the fish markets fill the narrow side streets to the point where it’s often hard to breathe. I love it. I see a woman that must be at least ninety years old. She’s carrying four huge bags filled with cans and bottles, all while she pushes a roller to help her stand up. She’s clearly an immigrant that was born in China. I wonder why she came here. What’s happened in her life to get her to this point? I feel bad about myself because I’m probably not going to live as long as her. I don’t have her work ethic. Due to pure circumstantial luck, I don’t need her work ethic.
My walks are an adventure. I see something new every time. Sometimes I take the walk because I’m stressed. Sometimes I walk when I need ideas or a creative spark. When I’m down, I’ll walk somewhere until I feel good.
I’m sitting at my desk in my apartment right now. I have the balcony door wedged open so that I can hear the city traffic and feel the breeze while I write. The sun is setting but I can’t see it from my eastern facing view. However, I do have a beautiful view that overlooks Brooklyn and the East River. Maybe tomorrow I’ll walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and see what I find on the other side.