New York City Walk
January 7, 2005 1:12 PM   Subscribe

New York City Walk "Between May 2002 and December 2004, I walked every street on the island of Manhattan. Every darn street."
posted by ColdChef (30 comments total)
Doesn't sound impressive until you look at the map.
posted by ColdChef at 1:23 PM on January 7, 2005

Great site, CC. I've sometimes harbored visions of doing the same thing, especially all those obscure named streets downtown, which are the oldest in the city.

This tickled me especially since it's just a few blocks from where I sit and I often pass by it on the way to one of my favorite bars. Thanks.
posted by jonmc at 1:27 PM on January 7, 2005

Every goddamn night? On the telephone?
posted by ba at 1:31 PM on January 7, 2005

In the family jewels?
posted by 40 Watt at 1:43 PM on January 7, 2005

He totally ripped off the Chock Full O'Nuts coffee can design.
posted by astruc at 1:48 PM on January 7, 2005

It's an homage, astruc.
posted by jonmc at 1:50 PM on January 7, 2005

Charles Lane looks like the exact sort of street I'd not want to walk ... in nyc ... at night.

If anything, it serves to make his completion all the more amazing.
posted by devbrain at 1:50 PM on January 7, 2005

Impressive, but as an expository piece on Manhattan "The Cruise" has him beat, hands down.
posted by pmbuko at 1:51 PM on January 7, 2005

Someday I'll go to New York and I'll see those places. That's a really cool thing to do, though I many streets did he walk and take his life in his own hands. (See my Midwestern perception of NYC as a dangerous place shining through.)
posted by DonnieSticks at 1:57 PM on January 7, 2005

I have a friend who's done this in San Francisco. He lost a lot of weight and knows the city really well now.
posted by Nelson at 2:11 PM on January 7, 2005

though I many streets did he walk and take his life in his own hands

In post-Guiliani police-state Manhattan? Probably none.

And for fans of New York lore, this is a great site.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:22 PM on January 7, 2005

It's an homage, astruc.

It rankles because I wanted to rip off the Chock Full o'Nuts design. Bastards!
posted by astruc at 2:32 PM on January 7, 2005

I watched Taxi Driver the other night (in a theater! by myself! I felt like a psycho) and the contrast between the New York City of today and the NYC of the seventies is staggering--it's almost a completely different city. Today, you could walk virtually anywhere in Manhattan unmolested if you're not drunk and don't look too loaded. I moved here in 2001, right at the end of Giuliani's grand horrifying project, so I can certainly attest to the more-or-less pristine vibe. Although I do feel sometimes that it's sliding right back...

But what would really impress me would be if somebody walked all five boroughs--that would be one for the history books, without a doubt--and would also probably entail more risk of life and limb.
posted by goodglovin77 at 2:48 PM on January 7, 2005

Second, come to think--does anybody know what happened to Speed Levitch? I never saw the movie, but I remember one day I had a teacher in High School who took his tour and was dumbstruck, so to speak...
posted by goodglovin77 at 2:58 PM on January 7, 2005

This is something I've always wanted to do myself. Really cool site.

Every goddamn night? On the telephone?
Oh, and ba: The girl with the big, big titties?
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:04 PM on January 7, 2005

My boyfriend and I are big walkers. Our favorite thing to do is just go wandering, sometimes for hours and hours, often times, between midnight and 6am. The city is so quiet and it just so cool to wander without stopping till the sun comes up.

We've wandered most frequently from Battery Park City to around 110th Street and there are possibly 10 blocks in that entire area that I would even consider remotely threatening.

There are parts of the Lower East side that can get a bit sketchy, and maybe some of the far west and east side by the highways can feel a bit desolate (but not really dangerous)

Going above 110th street and there is still some of the old new york poverty and its accompanying crime. However, Harlem as a whole has really started to become a wonderful place to live and visit and its perfectly safe during the day and fine at night if you keep your street sense up.

Remember, New York City has the lowest crime per capita of any big city in the United States and Manhattan has drastically lower violent crime than the outer boroughs. Manhattan between 110th Street and Battery Park the crime rate is lower still.

By the time you get the places that your average tourist wanders through, or even the areas that the average Manhattanite spends most time in, and the violent crime levels are probably below most of the denser suburban fringe areas in the midwest.

So yeah, Taxi Driver it ain't. I'll try to go dig up some of the crime levels from the FBI website. Anybody care to compare per capita crime rate by zip codes?
posted by PissOnYourParade at 3:31 PM on January 7, 2005

Next up: Brooklyn?
posted by willns at 3:39 PM on January 7, 2005

Wow, this is a great site, ColdChef, thanks. Unfortunately, I seem to have been the straw that broke the bandwidth back - it gave out right in the middle of my explorations.
posted by madamjujujive at 3:58 PM on January 7, 2005

Gack, finding crime statistics for New York is hard, if only because you have to wade through so much data to find what you want.

The best resource I could find is the GIS server. You can get all sorta of statistics by community board or police precinct, including crime stats.

The Dept. Of City Planning has profiles of each of the community boards, including population, income and demographic breakdowns.

So, for the record:
Manhattan Community Board #2
Population: 93119 souls

Murders: 1
Felonious Assault: 94
Forcible Rape: 6
Average emergency response time: 4.1 minutes
posted by PissOnYourParade at 3:59 PM on January 7, 2005

Thanks, ColdChef. Great find. I like the un-arty snapshotness of the photos. They're lovely and skillfully done, but he's not pushing them to be anything other than their own cool selves.

nelson, did your friend document his excursions? What prompted him to embark on the project?

jonmc, not Chumleys?

re crime & NYC: I moved here in 1987, pre-Giuliani, have always lived in the EVill or LES, have never been mugged or robbed or burgled. (I have had two or three lost wallets returned unmolested, which is more than anyone has any right to expect, anywhere.) The four years before that, I lived in Houston. Two apartment break-ins, an attempted car theft, and a scarifying attack as I was walking to my car after class.

Of course, it's not that binary. Plenty of friends here haven't been as lucky as I have, and too many people suffer too many assaults of too many kinds. But personally — I've never felt as exposed and vulnerable here as I've felt in Houston. It's the isolating car culture v. the interactive walking culture.

So, who else needs another beer?
posted by vetiver at 4:30 PM on January 7, 2005

Impressive, but as an expository piece on Manhattan "The Cruise" has him beat, hands down.

"The Cruise" is a wonderful documentary. [trailer.]
posted by ericb at 4:45 PM on January 7, 2005

links are gone -- did he take pictures on his route, like the ones a package took?
posted by thomcatspike at 4:49 PM on January 7, 2005

Check out two labors of love - Manhattan Unfurled and Manhattan Within.

Milan-trained architect Matteo Pericoli fell in love with New York when he moved there in 1995. In 2001 his book "Manhattan Unfurled" was published - just a month after the tragic events of September 11th. "Manhattan Unfurled" is two continuous pen-and-ink drawings of Manhattan's skyline. The book opens accordion-fashion into a 22-foot-long panorama, the east on one side, west on the other (see the drawings at his website). The drawings are from the perspective of a boat tour taken around the island. "He started the drawing in May of 1998, working nights and weekends." (The New Yorker, December 13, 1999).

"Manhattan Within" is another 22-foot-long drawing, this one in color, which also unfurls accordion-style, giving a 360-degree view of the Manhattan skyline as viewed from inside Central Park. The drawing contains over 620 buildings (with over 35,800 windows!) including the Guggenheim, Rockefeller Center, the Dakota, the Plaza Hotel and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
posted by ericb at 5:16 PM on January 7, 2005

devbrain: Charles Lane is one of a few very picturesque alleyways in Greenwhich Village. It's not dangerous. (And apparently, Thomas Pynchon once lived there).

DonnieSticks: Depending on the time of day, the walker could have done the entire walk without once being in any significant danger. The dangerous areas of the city are, by and large, not in Manhattan.
posted by thirdparty at 5:33 PM on January 7, 2005

PissOnYourParade, I do the same thing. Between 2am and 6am the city is a strange and wonderful place.

I wouldn't call Manhattan completely sanitized. The "undesirables" (as an old friend would say) are still there but they don't show up until much, much later in the night.
posted by nixerman at 5:43 PM on January 7, 2005

does anybody know what happened to Speed Levitch?

Speed was just down here in Austin last year. He did a bunch of improv/spoken word shows with our pal Jerm, and then headed back to New York. He's still around doing stuff, as far as I know.
posted by majcher at 8:56 PM on January 7, 2005

I remember walking from Midtown to the World Trade Center, or thereabouts, on the far West Side in the late 1970's on a cloudy, rainy winter's day. There was still significant industry in Soho and Tribeca (or, so it seemed); lots of fires in garbage cans (metal; not plastic!) keeping workers warm outside buildings. The City has changed a lot since then. Must of the rawness is gone. But in truth, I can't really even remember much of what it was like that long ago.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:25 PM on January 7, 2005

Cool beans, ColdChef! I was a city New Yorker in the early 80s. There's nothing like walking to get to know the place, but I sure missed a lot.

Thanks too, ericb, for the Pericoli links.
posted by jaruwaan at 5:03 AM on January 8, 2005

jonmc, not Chumleys?

Wogies, on Charles & Greenwich actually. Great cheeseteaks. Just to second others: Manhattan below 125th (and most areas above it) is absolutely safe, no matter what you see on Law & Order. There's still some rough areas in the outer boroughs, but even those you're safe in during the day.

This can lead to some confusion for older former residents. I mentioned a restaurant to my New York-raised Uncle Nick. When he asked where it was, I said Avenue C*. "What are ya, nuts? You'll get killed." "They have gourmet groceries and baby boutiques there now, man" He shook his head in disbelief.

*In Alphabet City, once a notoriously rough area, that inspired amnemonic about it's avenues: "A, your OK, B, Beware, C, you're crazy, D, you're dead. Funny how things change.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 AM on January 8, 2005

No insights? No deep meaning or significance? I mean, why even bother putting up a website, except to say you did it like some kind of cold statue. What a missed opportunity. Modern day pilgramige stories are often the best travel writing.
posted by stbalbach at 10:34 AM on January 8, 2005

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