LABOUR OF LOVE – MATT GREEN HAS BEEN WALKING NEW YORK CITY SINCE AT LEAST 2012

When it comes to walkin’, no one can beat MATT GREEN, a former civil engineer and native Virginian.  He has already walked across the United States, from Rockaway Beach NY to Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Then he took on The Big Apple, all 8,000 miles of streets in all five boroughs.

<THE SENTINEL OF CONEY ISLAND – Parachute Jump>

I first came across Matt’s website in March, 2012. Since then he’s added a multitude of new photos, maps, videos and commentary. You can join Matt on his travels through New York at http://www.imjustwalkin.com

<DO NOT JUMP – an old painted plea for noggin safety at the 169th Street F train station.>

<12 WEST 129TH STREET – erected in 1863, stands as rare survivor of Harlem’e early history.>

<RED HOOK RAT PATROL, HICKS SQUAD – a feral cat condo on Hicks Street.>

<TOWER OF SHIPPING CONTAINERS @ Pioneer Works – the second floor is home to a recording studio and a number of what appear to be electric hairbrushes.>

<SMITH & 9TH – THE HIGHEST SUBWAY STATION IN THE WORLD, 191st Street in Upper Manhattan. Renovations are complete. Here’s a look at the finished station.>

<PREM BHAKTI MANDIR>

<LIVING BESIDE THE ‘A’ TRAIN>

<YOU & YOUR DOG WILL BE ON CAMERA>

COLLYER’S MANSION – named after New York City’s most famous hoarders. The reclusive brothers – Homer and Langley Collyer – lived out their lives in a jam-packed Harlem row house. The NYC Fire Department still uses the term “Collyers’ Mansion” to refer to a dangerously overstuffed dwelling.

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“At its core, my walk is an oxymoron: an exhaustive journey through an inexhaustible city.”  – MATT GREEN

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The Bad Old Days on New York’s 42nd Street – photographs by Mitch O’Connell

You’d never recognize the place today.  New York City’s Movieland, 42nd Street, has been cleansed – Disneyfied, gentrified, purified, glamourized, call it what you will.  The seediness is all gone.

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Chicago artist, MITCH O’CONNELL at http://www.mitchoconnell.blogspot.ca“Way back in the late 80s, right before 42nd Street was swept clean and purified by Disney goodness, you could still enjoy New York in all its noisy, colourful, rude and vivid glory.

“I wish I had taken 1000 more photos (and gone back at night) of the amazing buildings and people that could only be found there, but at least I got a handful of snapshots of the long gone cool decaying seediness of that bustling stretch of real estate.”

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ED KOCH (1924-2013) – he took Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too.

Former New York City mayor, ED KOCH, 88, had his funeral yesterday.  As an organist played “New York, New York”, his coffin passed by thousands of mourners.  It was taken to Trinity Church Cemetery in Washington Heights, conveniently close to a subway stop – so New Yorkers can visit his grave.

KOCH3A documentary film about Mayor Koch opened on the day he died.

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A new urban sport – Arctic-Temperature Cycling IN TORONTO & NEW YORK

WINTERCYCLINGStand on any major street corner in TORONTO during the early morning commute, and you’ll see them – several hundred hardy two-wheeled commuters, bundled up against the cold, in-bound to the office.  Among the earliest – MATT GALLWAY, CBC radio’s popular early-morning host, who leaves the house at 4 am and is on the air by 5:30.

WINTERCYCLING2In NEW YORK CITY, wintertime commuting is really catching on – with some suburbanites peddling over 40 miles into Manhattan.  Bridge crossings, icy roads, transport trucks and buses, coyotes, rain – nothing stops the NYC bike commuter.  “As long as it’s at least 10 degrees, I ride,” says Dr. Scott Bernstein, an electrophysiologist and assistant professor at NYU School of Medicine.  He commutes from Tarrytown to 34th Street and 1st Avenue.

My Saturday in New York City – October 27/2012 – lull before the storm.

This time last week I was in New York City shepherding two first-timers around.  They’d never been there before, so we covered a lot of territory – mostly on foot – from 50th Street to Wall Street; the Brooklyn Bridge to the High Line.  They absolutely loved it, just as I’ve loved it from my first visit as a teenager in 1959.  Last Saturday everything seemed so completely normal as we wandered around, but 24 hours later the world was turned upside down.  We were already back in Canada when New York and New Jersey faced off against Sandy’s fury.

The flooding and destruction is staggering.  The response from the population and government has been totally impressive.  If such a calamity should occur in Canada (earthquake, a tsunami, oil spill, rising tides, etc.), with the Canadian government’s penchant for cost-cutting everything that isn’t nailed down, do we have the where-with-all to respond as the US is doing?  I wonder.

<PHOTOS ABOVE from the NY Times website: South Ferry subway station/Lenny Pridatko; and Flooding of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel/Dave Jones>