Trip Log – Day 256 – New York, NY

Poughkeepsie to NYCJuly 18, 2016 – Sun, 90 degrees

Miles Today: 11

Miles to Date: 13,253

States to Date: 33

New York City is packed with people, even in summer. People are polite, if not exactly friendly, but we develop a veneer here, quickly, to give each other space in a place where space is scarce. I don’t approach many people with my question. It seems intrusive.

Still, there is much to glean by rolling through the city at my pace. New York may well be the most diverse place on earth. All ages and identities appear to coexist with more ease than I’ve witnessed elsewhere. The extremes of rich and poor are great, but less glaring than say, San Francisco.

IMG_6926I think about The Green Metropolis, in which David Owen postulates that Manhattan is the most energy efficient place in the United States. That may be true on a per capita consumption basis, but it really doesn’t translate to a sustainable model we should emulate. Yes, New York is efficient because it’s so dense and there are so few cars. But the density pushes human limits and disconnects us from, rather than links us to, the natural world. When you consider all the external energy it takes to make New York work – including major portions of New Jersey and Connecticut – the argument is not convincing.

I spent a leisurely morning in a deli, eating the world’s best bagel and the largest black and white ever. Then I rode over to Riverside Church and had a conversation with Michael Neuss of Orpheus Orchestra, a chamber orchestra that has developed a collective process in which all forty members participate in selection and interpretation. They have no conductor. It is a fascinating example of truly participatory democracy in action.

IMG_6928I got stuck in a torrential downpour along the Hudson River bike path, but fortunately part of it is under the raised West Side Highway, so I just waited it out with other cyclists and then pedaled on to the sunshine, among them a fresh graduate of The Actor’s Studio on the way to his second rehearsal of a new play. Now that guy was excited!

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 3.54.49 PMimgres-1

I went by many of the new buildings near the High Line. Am I the only one who thinks the new Whitney is the 21st century version of brute force over elegance just as the original was in the 20th century? I find an unsettling correlation between the new metal monster and its concrete cousin.

IMG_6933

And since when did Jersey City have a skyline?

imgresWhen I reached my host’s in the Lower East Side I was treated to a night in a true tenement – a five floor walk-up with a WC closet and a bathtub in the kitchen. Patrick took me on a two-hour evening walk through his neighborhood. The streets pulsed on the summer’s night breeze.

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About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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3 Responses to Trip Log – Day 256 – New York, NY

  1. Jeanne Large says:

    I would be interested to hear about your visions of building design that we could have instead of the “metal monster and it’s concrete cousin”.

    Like

  2. paulefallon says:

    Medium density buildings related tot he street with rooftops we can use.. for starters. They can be the most energy efficient, achieve good density and still have a human scale. Skyscrapers exalt our technical capabilities, often at the expense of our humanity.

    Like

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