I’ve been trying to do more walking lately. I spend too many hours on my butt staring at a computer screen. The only way for me to fit it into my day is to walk from Grand Central to my office or vice versa. It amazes me how many people have developed the habit of walking with their heads down staring at a smartphone with ear buds or sportscaster like headphones stuck to their heads. Besides being dangerous (you don’t see or hear traffic that way) it is a hazard to the rest of us non-plugged in types. I find I often have to walk like I’m posing for the Heisman Trophy to keep the electronic zombies from smashing right into me.
But the really sad part is that by not looking up and around, they miss so much. This is NYC for God’s sake. Open your eyes. If you pay attention, there are so many marvelous things to delight and educate.
There is a wonderful shop on Sixth Avenue close to Central Park South that has all sorts of treasures – ormolu furniture and knick knacks, antique china, art deco statues, netsuke, and my favorite, pate de verre objects. I have always loved this technique of creating glass art. The colors are beautiful and it seems that the work glows from within. I spent a few happy moments just enjoying the variety of pieces in the window.
As I cross Central Park South and walk along the Park wall, I notice that the pedestrian entrances are named. I pass Artists’ Gate and Artisans’ Gate.
Here’s a link to a NY Times article about the Gates.
I turn west and head toward Columbus Circle. I look up and ahead of me rises the Time Warner Center where I work. Seeing these glass towers through the branches of hundred year old trees is such an incongrueous sight. I wonder if Fredrick Law Olmstead envisioned this when he designed the urban wilderness that is Central Park?
I will admit that I too have often rushed through my day, oblivious to what is around me. But my promise to myself as I start my sixty first year of life is to stop trying to do more, work harder, work faster. I need to stop and really see and hear what is around me. It all goes by so quickly. It’s a shame to miss the scenery because you are too busy studying the map.