369O' brother, put ur H on the maPhattan Project ... peregrinating like gridwork

Dear Internet,

Finished the Nausicaa episode (#5) of 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY' ... in The Odyssey, Ulysses washes up buck naked on the island of the Phaeacians where Nausicaa (coaxed by Athena to wash her 'weeds' in the river to make her more enticing) + her maidens find him wearing nothing but brine. The maidens giggle + run away but Nausicaa unabashedly clothes him + takes him back to the palace to meet the parents (the King + Queen of Phaeacia). In the corresponding chapter of Ulysses, this is the chapter where Bloom masturbates watching the gimp-legged Gerty MacDowell. U'll have to wait to see how this plays out in our book ...

Last night was the 4th of July ... after a few days of thunderstorms the skies cleared up just in time for the fireworks. If the fireworks were on the Hudson like they've been the past 5 years, we would've had a great view (missed them last year cuz we were in Kathmandu) ... but they were moved back to the East River ... + on top of it cuz of strong currents or something they were moved even further south ... so we could barely see them over the lower Manhattan skyline. Leopold Bloom's climax is symbolized by fireworks, which just happen to be going off while Gerty is giving him a show ... cheesy perhaps, but maybe no 1 had used this now overblown metaphor at the time Joyce wrote Ulysses.

natural fireworks the night before ... ground up lightning appearing to come from Riverside church

After a bit of an absence, the peregrines are back ... whereas last year they seemed to be roosting on the above Riverside church + would occasionally fly up here, this year it seems they are nesting on top of our building. We've seen them fly right by our window a few times ... 1 time we heard a shriek + looked to see a white pigeon falling out of the sky amidst a flurry of feathers ... + later in the day we saw the bloodied pigeon on the path below in the trees ... as if the peregrine had dropped it + was leery about flying into the thicket to fetch it. Another time a peregrine flew right past our window w/ pigeon gripped in claws ... a pigeon almost as big as the peregrine was ... + then the peregrine roosted above us eating the pigeon + it was raining feathers past our window. Seems there's a pair of peregrines, if not more ... 1 time we looked out + saw 4 at once ... in 2 pairs, as if squabbling for territory. They are difficult to capture on film, but we did get this 1 shot of 1 of them roosting on the ledge 2 stories above us .... just as it was flying off ...

peregrine taking off from her roost 2 stories up

The other morning below our window—on 125th + Broadway below the Riverside drive viaduct—we saw some people putting up a giant H ... guess it's the work of the artist Bentley Meeker. The H stands for Harlem, even tho 125th + 12th avenute is the heart of Manhattanville And even tho it is made of metal to match the viaduct + seems like it would make a nice permanent fixture, it is only temporary. If they went thru all this trouble, why not just leave it up?

The H is for man-Hattanville


Score your H outside the Cotton Club

As we were going for a walk this morning (July 5) we were thinking of where to go that we hadn't already been ... seems we've been down every street in Manhattan. It occurred to us why not systematically retrace each street just to be sure? To give purpose to our flâneuring.

When we walk, it seems we either do long walks north or south, down avenues—pretty certain we've walked every avenue of Manhattan at some point or another—but the streets? That's a tough 1 to know for certain, we occasionally find ourselves on streets we've never been. So we got to thinking why not walk every street, east to west or west to east? And systematically keep track. There's roughly 250 streets + Manhattan's more or less 2 miles wide ... so that's roughly 500 miles, right? If we do 10 miles a week, we could do it in 1 year, hopefully finishing by July 4th of next year ... perhaps in time to see the fireworks from Battery Park. Here we go!

Since we live near 125th + Riverside, we decided to start on 126th (consider the giant H to be the origin ... +125thstreet the main line) ...heading west, knocking off 126 thru 129 (7.0 miles) ...

... or u can consider this Manhattan MANhole outside our place at 125th + Riverside to be the origin (0, 0) of our peregrinations ...

We've walked or ran all these streets before, but we got to start somewhere + be methodical about it. And while we flâneur we can document + capture landmarks that stick out for us (w/ a literary/arts/foodie bias) ... of course u can always go on Google street view + see the streets for urself, so we won't bother to give reference shots ... even the main landmarks u can find pics of online, but we'll try to include things here u might not otherwise notice. The other thing is that while the avenues have all the big landmarks + stores + restaurants, the streets are more off the beaten path.

Our route for July 5th, 2014


before we even begin, Manhattanville throws a kink in our grid ... west of Broadway this is 129th street but when you cross Broadway it becomes 126th ...


wall on W 126th


continuing east across 126th


live poultry shop on 126th


fix-a-flat on 126th


empty lot ( 126th)


Amsterdam ave near 126th


fancy fire escape ( 126th)


walled-up entryway ( 126th)


behind the depot at the east end of 126th


end of 127th running into FDR


looping back west on 127th


lots of little churches like this (on 127th) on Harlem side streets


Heritage House Bldg (127th)


looping back on 128th ... if we were to buy office space in Manhattan it'd be on this stretch of 128th

(can only get thru on foot)


on 128th


another break in the grid on 128th ... traversable only on foot


lots of clothes drops like this (128th)


on east 128th


near the east end of 128th


looping back on 129th (stretch of homes w/ wood front porches that we've never seen elsewhere in NYC)


All Saints Roman Catholic church (129th + Madison)


standalone house w/ southern style wood porch (on 129th)

The other piece of it, is that we'll eat somewhere along the route ... preferably that is somewhat indicative of the neighborhood + not getting off the route. So today we stopped at Jacob soul food, on Lennox @ 129th ... had fried chicken, collared greens, corn bread, black-eyed peas, etc. while watching the 1st half of Argentina vs. Belgium.

Jacob on 129th + Lennox (could use a bit of help on the design side)


129th + Broadway ... to the right are projects, left is the beginnings of the fancy new Manhattanville campus Columbia is building ... which will likely change the complexion of the neighborhood


work in progress (Manhattanville campus)


Cotton Club (not the original 1 obviously) at the end of 129th

+ that's our bldg looming overhead

Ideally we'd do a bit of research before we hit the streets (to make sure we took in all the notable landmarks along the way), but since we didn't decide to embark on this endeavor until we were out the door, there's some things we passed today w/o even knowing it ... like the apartment that Langston Hughes lived on east 127th ... walked right by w/o even realizing it. Guess if we had googlemap open while walking we might notice more, but that's no fun. The whole point is to experience it IRL. We also went by Crack is Wack Park w/o even realizing what it was + missed the famous mural by Keith Haring (guess we can make a detour on our next outing down 125th street to see it ... see below).

Been too busy writing SSES (which involves re-reading The Odyssey + Ulysses), archiving photos, watching World Cup + now our maPhattan Project to do any substantive reading ... except to say we've embarked on Ovid's Metamorphoses in tandem (so far we're thru the flood, Daphne (seems like Ovid's take on Nausicaa) + Callisto (another nymph, that Zeus seduces) episodes ... o, + speaking of things based on The Odyssey, we re-watched O' Brother, Where Art Thou last night ... tho it seems in their recapitulation of The Odyssey the Cohen bros mixed + combined parallels ... for example, Nausicaa (who we thought was Liv Tyler on the 1st viewing, but ends up it's her sister Mia) gets folded in w/ The Sirens (they wash their weeds in the river while singing/seducing) ...

Actually on this 2nd (or 3rd?) viewing we kept being reminded of The Wizard of Oz (w/o Dorothy)(our #1 movie of all time incidentally) ... even before the overt Klan scene, which they may as well have just been singing the Winkie Chant (o ee o, ee aaay o!). Which got us to thinking, is The Wizard of Oz a retelling of The Odyssey? Thanks to u, o Internet, there's plenty of sites that map (or at least list similarities) between Oz + Odyssey so no point rehashing them here (+ better to discover the parallels for urself). This is the whole point of The Odyssey, is that it can be overlaid on any other story to come after ... specially stories where it becomes more about the journey than the destination.

July 6 ... decided to kick off our maPhattan Project w/ a doubleheader weekend ... so this morning we tackled streets 125 thru 122 (9.3 miles in total) ...

our route on July 6, 2014

The other thing we decided, is that in addition to walking all the streets we'd bike the avenues ... that way we'd be sure to hit every strip of asphalt in Manhattan. Too ambitious? Ask us in a year.

125th is not our favorite walking street, so we did it early ... past famous landmarks like The Apollo (not shown here cuz plenty of others already have) ... which made us think of the time we saw Femi Kuti there ... o, the other thing is that our ruminations while flâneuring will lean towards our personal assocations (which will become more apparent when we venture near the 8 or so different Manhattan addresses where we've already lived).

125th + Broadway (the very tip of our building visible at right) + perhaps the only standalone McDonald's in Manhattan?


our Post Office on west 125th


heading east on 125th


along 125th (the 1st soul we've shown on 5cense in a long while)


corner where Lou Reed scores dope in "Waiting for the Man"...

up to Lexington, 125 ... feeling sick + dirty more dead than alive

When we got to the end of 125th we took a detour to see Keith Haring's Crack is Wack mural that we missed the day before, in The Crack is Wack playground at the end of 128th (empty 'cept for a guy walking his rottweiler + an old rasta waking + baking) ...

Crack is Wack, yo! (Haring, 1986)


other side ... (wonder if people still play handball here?)

... seemed pretty clean, obviously they touch it up

Then we looped back on 124th ... got breakfast at Harlem Shake (a 'Harlem Hangover' ... an egg over sweet potatoes + peppers) while watching the beginning of Federer vs. Djoker ...

Harlem Shake looking down Lennox


De La Vega mural on 124th


walking along 124th ...


after a bit of traversing thru projects (the 1s recently raided by the NYPD),

124th turns into Tiemann, our nearest cross street

Then we looped back east again on 123rd + looped back on 122nd passing thru Marcus Garvey park where some dude shot up right in front of us rather than just waiting a second for us to pass (we have a thing about needles ... would rather not see) ...

school built into side of a cliff on 123rd


back west on 122nd (the brownstones beyond the church on the corner evidently were designed by the same architect that designed Carnegie Hall)


1 of the skinniest standalone buildings we've ever seen in Manhattan, on 122nd


get ur JE NS + SNE KERS (on 122nd)


Harriet Tubman statue (laying roots) near 122nd looking down St. Nicholas


 > 370 > Now that we've given up hope we feel much better: a tinkering pilgrim + man a machine swapping odyssey for home


[  (ɔ)om.Posted 2014  derek white  |  calamari press   ]