Forty-sixth Entry


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Friday, May 1st, 2020

Noise has reemerged.  

It’s unclear why city noises are returning. Perhaps a blend of warmer temperatures and local restlessness, but maybe it is simply a matter of need. This place may need noise; it may be part of this city’s identity.

One of the gifts of these days, even with some added noise the focus required to avoid cars and trucks on the streets has diminished considerably. The near absence of cars and people has provided an opportunity to see things in new ways. With less attention on hazards, more focus is available for observation.

Riding in the wrong direction on one-way streets is a nearly foolproof way to find new details and vistas in familiar places. Having so few cars parked along the curb opens the view even more. Spectacular.

When routines are out of balance our eyes and minds explore familiar things differently trying to make sense or bring some order. We tend to resist change, but if we allow ourselves to open, to relax our minds, our expectations and habits can fade. It becomes possible to expand our experience of what is around us. Buildings, architectural details, trees and plantings have recently revealed themselves to me.

Yesterday, riding down Mott Street, I glanced up and noticed a large masonry building with a slightly curved facade that I had never noticed. Most Manhattan buildings and streets are straight, the few streets that curve are typically lined with flat facades, each a facet following the curve. The long gentle sweep on Mott Street was delightful to notice.