Brad Loving – Bird & Whale 010
I took a walk through Lower Manhattan the other night. It was a cool damp evening and the sun had pretty much set by the time I got off work. Sometimes I walk to a distant subway stop to get a little exercise since I spend an unhealthy amount of time sitting at a desk. On this particular night I picked the Fulton Street A/C subway stop as my destination. I take the A/C line pretty much daily to work so it was sort of interesting to cover the same ground on foot. Google Maps said it would be about an hour walk from my workplace in Chelsea.
I have this idea in my head that I “pretty much know” Manhattan after having lived in New York City (albeit residing in Brooklyn) for seven years. This is utterly false. I quickly felt like I was walking through some unknown city after departing from my familiar commuter routes in Chelsea; seeing one new cityscape after the next. I guess it goes without saying that with one’s phone handy, there’s not much chance of actually getting lost, but I try to not to use it too much. I’ve noticed that my natural sense of direction has declined with my constant use GPS the way a foreign language might recede with disuse so I’m trying to get a little bit of that back.
At one point, after getting turned around and begrudgingly reorienting myself with my phone, a homeless man came up and asked how to get to 6th Ave. I was pretty sure his asking for directions was just an excuse to start a conversation and then ask for money, but as soon as I pointed east, he was off, dodging through traffic with his sleeping bag around his shoulders.
At another point I stopped to stare at a bus trying to make a turn around a tight corner down a small street. The bus was impeded by a minivan with an older Chinese man at the wheel who seemed to not understand the geometry involved and either could not or would not get out of the way. Eventually, a good samaritan took charge and started directing traffic on behalf of the bus. The Chinese fellow was still reluctant to move much, but did eventually did back up far enough for the bus to pass. I wondered if part of the problem was that the Chinese man was more comfortable with the mere inches separating his minivan from the bus than the bus driver was. Perhaps an example of differing cultural proxemics. As I was taking in this minor commotion and waiting for the bus to clear the crosswalk in front of me, another homeless man came up to me and asked for money. I told him I didn’t have any change, and he countered that I could buy him food. I squinted in thought trying to decide if I felt like putting this interaction into motion. There was a pizza joint just across the street to the west so I said “…pizza?” He took a gamble, “How about a sandwich?” to which I said, “No, sorry” and walked away – mostly because the bus had finally cleared the intersection in front of me, but also because it seemed like there were too many variables involved in a sandwich. I felt a little bad that I had gotten the man’s hopes up, but not too bad because he had declined my offer. My assumption is that as a homeless man in NYC, he eats a lot of pizza since cheap pizza-by-the-slice places are so ubiquitous around the city.
A little further south a young interracial couple came up and asked for a suggestion of where to eat in the neighborhood. They said something about being from out of town which was somehow obvious. I happened to be in Tribeca by this point, and I confessed that I didn’t know of anything in the area. I pride myself on knowing a lot of good restaurants in the city, but I couldn’t think of a single one around there. I thought about pulling up Yelp on my phone on their behalf, but that seemed odd so I just suggested that they walk north instead. I wondered if they were familiar with Yelp (or any of the other apps for finding consumables that are so ingrained into my city routine) and chose instead to approach strangers when travelling. Perhaps they too were trying to not let technology too overtly steer their path.
Not long after, I made it to a large glass dome with a sign for Fulton Street A/C stop along with various other subway lines that connect there. Most of the New York subway stops are pretty unassuming so this glass mall (which I would find out later is called The Fulton Center) sort of surprised me. I have taken the subway under this thing a thousand times without realizing what was overhead.
Bird & Whale 010 – Brad Loving
- AAL (Against All Logic) – For_Kennedy
- Makaya McCraven – Finance (Maker remix ft. Ruth Ramos flute & Isaias Martinez trumpet)
- Teebs – The Endless
- Archy Marshall – Thames
- Knxwledge – rightaftr[THK]
- Renegades of Jazz – Pounding Song
- Prince Jammy – 256k
- Lives Of Angels – Imperial Motors
- Lee Moses – Time and Place
- Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – Freak Your Boom Boom
- Dakota Jim – Only Soul Can Tell
- Celestine Ukwu and His Philosophers National – Okwukuwe Na Ncheckwube
- Merli & Spumante – SLWD
- Tirzah – Make It Up
- Clap! Clap! – The Holy Cave
- Star Flying Gazankulu – Angelinah Nkata
- David Zé – Tribalismo
- Batatinha – Diplomacia
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