I am making a First Spring in New York City Resolution. I'm calling it "Spring Sundays." Beginning after March 21 and as often as I can each Sunday this spring, I am going to take a charted walk in Manhattan.
Earlier this winter, I purchased a deck of 4x6" cards from Papyrus called "City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot." It has been a fairly mild winter; however, it hasn't been pleasant enough lately for lengthy outdoor excursions.
Today's weather held the promise of beautiful spring days ahead. Cafes and restaurants have begun moving their table seating to the sidewalks. New Yorkers and tourists are walking around in lighter jackets. All around, people and plants are beginning to bud and are ready to bloom.
Terrence accompanied me to The Container Store to help me carry some items I haven't yet purchased because they were too heavy for me to carry home alone. Friends and coworkers have been telling me how great the city is in the spring. Yet as we passed a cafe with tables set up on the sidewalk while walking down 7th Avenue, I was truly excited for the first time since I moved to New York that spring was in the air.
Between errands, walking up Sixth Avenue, Terrence said to me, "I think we just passed Steven Spielberg."
"Really? See? I told you I often walk by celebrities and other people tell me who I just missed. How did you even recognize him?" I said.
He replied, "I think it was him. I wouldn't have noticed him either, except that he was wearing a Mets baseball cap and looked right up at me."
People usually take a second or third look up at Terrence because he's 6'9". We continued up Sixth Avenue and took a right on 23rd Street toward the Home Depot.
According to the introductory insert in my deck of map cards, New York is a city of world-class museums and cultural institutions, of jaw-dropping spectacle and historic sites; it is an urban palimpsest more than 300 years in the making, and it is in a state of perpetual renewal still. The city is composed of loosely defined districts - the Theater District, the Garment District, the Flower District, the Financial District - but its heart and soul is to be found in the hundred small and very distinct neighborhoods in which its people live. New York is also very much a city of street life and nightlife. Apartments are small, so New Yorkers crowd the streets and parks. Outdoor cafes and food vendors abound, and impromptu picnics occur everywhere. Of course you'll visit the Met, the MoMA, and the American Museum of Natural History. But if you've ever wondered what keeps New Yorkers in New York, spend at least as much time in one or another of their neighborhoods.
Each of the 50 cards conveys the flavor of the New York neighborhood or area it covers. None of the walks should take more than an hour or two to complete. On the card maps, one inch equals approximately 1,000 feet, so five inches is approximately one mile ...
I already know why I came to New York City. Inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile, my Sundays this spring will be spent adding to my list of reasons of why I, too, may never leave.